White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to confirm if reports about Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s departure are true.
Instead, as if often the case, she couched her response in vagueries:
“We’ve said many times before, as many of you love to write these types of stories, when the president loses his confidence in someone, they will no longer serve in the capacity that they’re in. The president was here today with the secretary of state. They engaged in a foreign leader visit and are continuing to work together to close out what we see to be an incredible year.”
That’s not a “no.”
Reports broke Thursday about a plan replace Tillerson with someone more loyal to President Donald Trump, CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Two administration officials confirmed this.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is reportedly behind the plan set to unfold over the next several weeks.
And who would replace Pompeo?
One of the president’s most ardent supporters, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), according to officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The president, though, was cagey as ever when asked about it during a meeting with Bahrain crown prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa.
Trump told reporters:
“He’s here. Rex is here.”
Sarah Sanders told reporters:
“There are no personnel announcements at this time.”
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said about her boss:
“Secretary Tillerson enjoys this job. He has a lot of work to do. He does serve at the pleasure of the president. The president respects Secretary Tillerson. The have had, certainly, a cordial relationship. Where that stands today, I cannot speak to that.”
The past few months have cast Secretary Tillerson into the spotlight for calling President Trump a “f***ing moron,” which he never denied.
Reports of the friction between him and the president have lead to his being given the nickname “Rexit.”
Tillerson, though, has told friends he wants to last a full year in his position, and has insisted he had no plans to resign.
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) spoke with Tillerson Thursday.
Although he denied reports of Tillerson’s impending exit from the tumultuous administration, he stated:
“It’s been evident to me that, for some time, somebody has been seeking to undermine his presence. I don’t know who that is.”
Could Tillerson be the next wheel to fly off?
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