Plan discussed to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

Posted December 01, 2017

Citing unnamed "senior administration officials" on Thursday, the New York Times reports that the Trump administration has a detailed plan to push Secretary of State Rex Tillerson out his position and replace him with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who would in turn be replaced by the hawkish U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

President Donald Trump smiles at Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after he was sworn in in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Feb. 1, 2017.

Both CNN and Bloomberg subsequently reported that the White House is weighing replacing Tillerson with Pompeo.

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Relations between President Trump and the senior member of his Cabinet - the former CEO of Exxon Mobil - have been strained nearly from the start.

Some argued that things at the State Department can hardly get worse than they have been under Tillerson, whose 10-month reign has been marked by an exodus of top diplomats, deep dismay at planned 30 percent budget cuts, and conflicts with Trump.

Nauert says Tillerson serves at the president's pleasure and remains in his role until told otherwise.

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Tillerson answered that "the president speaks for himself".

If Cotton is appointed and confirmed to a Trump administration post, he'd be temporarily replaced in the Senate by Arkansas's Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, before a likely special election to fill the rest of his term later this year. "They engaged in a foreign leader visit and are continuing to work together to close out what we've seen to be an incredible year".

Mr Tillerson's relationship with the president is thought to have been strained after reports emerged that he had called Mr Trump a "moron" during a meeting at the Pentagon. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Tillerson "is here" and there are "no personnel announcements to be made at this time". Mr. Trump and Mr. Tillerson have been at odds over a host of major issues, including the Iran nuclear deal, the confrontation with North Korea and a clash between Arab allies.

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"I think he has represented the United States' interests exceedingly well, particularly in our region", she told Sky News on Friday.