White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday said that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should be “just fine” to do his job, despite reports that the White House plans to oust him.
“The secretary of state’s a pretty tough guy. I think he’ll be just fine carrying his job out,” Sanders said at her daily press briefing.
The New York Times reported Thursday morning that the White House has developed a plan to replace Tillerson with with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and to replace Pompeo with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR).
“As we’ve said many times before, as many of you love to write these type of stories, when the President loses confidence in someone, they will no longer serve in the capacity that they’re in,” Sanders added.
Pressed to say whether Tillerson is exempt from that category, Sanders said, “As the President said on the record, and several of you were in the room in the Oval today, the secretary of state is here.”
The White House has previously expressed Trump’s confidence in administration officials who have been fired hours later, as well as some who remain in their positions; confidence appears to be a matter of cosmetics rather than certainty.