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White House wanted to publicly shame Tillerson, source says

01 December 2017

After months of clashes on policy and personality, President Donald Trump is considering ousting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replacing him with hard-nosed CIA Director Mike Pompeo following less than a year on the job, senior US officials said Thursday as turmoil within Trump's national security team burst into the open.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has had a troubled year at the State Department, his attempts to improve the department met with scorn from other top officials, and his talk of diplomacy undercut, often very publicly, by the president.

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

"It seems like an odd way to run an administration to put a story out there that seems to imply that Tillerson is on borrowed time, but we're gonna keep him in the job for two months", said Wallace.

Does the president still have confidence in Tillerson?

She says Tillerson continues to lead the department, and that the entire Cabinet is focused on completing Trump's first year in office.

Rex Tillerson Donald Trump
President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a bilateral meeting. AP

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. Vanity Fair separately reported that Pompeo could replace Tillerson as early as January.

No matter how long Tillerson is allowed to stay on, his stature and ability to speak on Trump's behalf has been impaired, it is widely agreed.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders later told reporters: "As the President just said, 'Rex is here.' There are no personnel announcements at this time".

A former Kansas congressman and the current Central Intelligence Agency director could become the new secretary of state. Too much churn could fuel the perception of chaos in the Trump White House - perhaps one reason he has yet to pull the trigger.

At a private dinner of foreign policy veterans last month, a senior White House official criticized Tillerson for failing to support the president's agenda, according to a person familiar with the matter.

"And I can tell you who is going to win".

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White House wanted to publicly shame Tillerson, source says