President Trump moved to quash speculation about the rumored departure of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday, after widespread reporting that plans were in place to replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Using his favorite medium, Twitter, Trump posted that the laconic Texan would remain in the administration.
“He’s not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!”
Trump added: “FAKE NEWS!”
Tillerson, in a quick appearance Friday with Libya’s prime minister, replied to questions about his alleged looming demise at State. “It’s laughable,” he said of the stories. “It’s laughable.”
On Thursday, the New York Times first reported that an informal plan to replace the former Exxon chief executive with Pompeo — a Trump favorite — had been circulated through the West Wing.
Trump has reportedly griped to others about Tillerson for months. Tillerson reportedly has few allies in the administration, and he has been unable to develop the personal chemistry with Trump that other Cabinet secretaries have.
For his part, Tillerson is said to be frustrated in his job and the president’s mercurial whims and tendencies to undercut him — even overruling him on Twitter about North Korea earlier this fall.
Tillerson was overheard earlier this year calling the president a “moron,” according to NBC News. He didn’t deny the report. Allies of Tillerson have said he would like to make it at least one year in the post.
There have been few constants in the Trump administration, but personnel churn has proved one. Trump has lost, or ousted, chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus, national security adviser Mike Flynn, press secretary Sean Spicer, communications director Anthony Scaramucci and others in the first 11 months. The departures have often been messy.
Aides in the White House have already begun speculating about a raft of new departures around the one year mark of the Trump presidency.