Tillerson will be out at State Department within weeks

Michele Moreno
December 1, 2017

Tillerson's future came up in the Oval Office earlier this month at a meeting in which White House officials closest to the president agreed the Texan should go - and soon - said one individual who consults regularly with the administration.

The Times, the first to report the plan, said it was not immediately clear whether President Donald Trump had given final approval to the shakeup. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Tillerson "is here" and there are "no personnel announcements to be made at this time". "Secretary Tillerson continues to lead the State Department".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to leave his post in January, sources told Fox News, with CIA Director Mike Pompeo being eyed to take his place.

Trump has soured on Tillerson mostly because of the "moron" report, the softer line that America's top diplomat has taken on North Korea, and differences over the Gulf crisis involving Qatar, one senior USA official said.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly developed the transition plan and has discussed it with other officials, the Times reported.

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

Perhaps more damaging for his internal prospects, though, was a report in October that Tillerson had called Trump a "moron" at one point in the summer - a report Tillerson has conspicuously never denied. Shortly after Tillerson announced that the US was in diplomatic contact with Pyongyang, Mr. Trump tweeted that "he is wasting his time".

Mr. Trump has been publicly frustrated with his top diplomat. "Who knows if that still holds?" the source said.

"He remains secretary of State", she added.

Shortly after the news broke, Trump was peppered by reporters about the veracity of the story at the White House. "It feels like whiplash", a State Department official said.

Mr Tillerson would be replaced with Mike Pompeo, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

While some intelligence officers say Pompeo tends to tell the president what he wants to hear rather than giving him their assessments, others say they have been impressed by his intellect, his willingness to listen and his advocacy of more robust covert operations.

Tillerson answered that "the president speaks for himself".

Tillerson successfully convinced Mr. Trump to keep the U.S.in the Iran nuclear deal.

"There's been a Tillerson death watch since the spring", said Derek Chollet, a former State Department, Pentagon and National Security Council official in the Obama administration.

Tillerson has taken a more hawkish view than Trump on Russian Federation and tried to mediate a dispute after four Arab nations launched a boycott of Qatar.

Other reports by Insurance News

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