The Latest: Trump says Tillerson ouster is ‘fake news’
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the White House considering a plan to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (all times local):
President Donald Trump is denying he wants to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, calling reports to that effect “fake news,” as his top diplomat brushes off speculation that he has lost the confidence of the White House.
Tillerson went about his normal schedule of diplomatic activities Friday. He told reporters at the State Department that speculation he was on his way out was “laughable.”
Senior White House officials have told reporters that a plan has been devised to push Tillerson out and replace him with CIA chief Mike Pompeo. Immediately after reports of the plan emerged, Trump offered only tepid support for Tillerson.
On Friday, though, trump insisted, “He’s not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects ... we work well together and America is highly respected again!”
President Donald Trump says media speculation that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will leave his job soon is “fake news.”
Trump is responding on Twitter to widespread reports attributed to White House officials describing a plan to oust Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Trump says it’s incorrect that he “fired Rex Tillerson” or that the secretary will be leaving soon. He says Tillerson is “not leaving.”
The president says he and Tillerson disagree on some subjects but adds that “I call the shots.” Trump says he and Tillerson “work well together” and that the U.S. is once again “highly respected.”
Trump’s tweet links to a photograph of Tillerson being sworn into office earlier this year in the Oval Office while Trump and Vice President Mike Pence look on.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is dismissing as “laughable” reports that the White House is trying to get rid of him.
Tillerson was asked about the reports during a photo-op with the visiting Libyan prime minister. Multiple officials say White House is considering a plan to replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Tillerson said twice, “It’s laughable,” but made no other comments to journalists before leaving the room.
The State Department has said Tillerson plans to remain on the job. He is scheduled to leave Monday on an official, four-country trip to Europe.
Senior U.S. officials say President Donald Trump is considering replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to lead off a realignment of his national security team.
The officials say such a plan calls for Tillerson to be replaced by the director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, who would then be replaced by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. The officials spoke about the possible changes on condition of anonymity.
Publicly, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn’t confirm or deny that Trump was considering replacing Tillerson. Trump himself wouldn’t directly answer when asked if he wanted Tillerson to stay on the job.
Tillerson left Exxon Mobil as CEO to join the administration. Replacing the understated former oil man could significantly shift the tone and direction of Trump’s foreign policy.