President Donald Trump on Friday denied reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was on his way out.
The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon – FAKE NEWS! He’s not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!https://t.co/FrqiPLFJ1E
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 1, 2017
According to the White House schedule, Trump tweeted the comment after a private lunch, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET, with Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
On Thursday, unnamed administration sources told the New York Times and other outlets that the Trump administration was considering a plan to replace Tillerson at the State Department with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and that Pompeo would in turn be replaced by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK).
Neither the White House nor the State Department confirmed that reporting, and on Friday Tillerson called it “laughable.” Trump on Thursday said simply that “Rex is here.”
CNN’s Michelle Kosinski reported Thursday that the rumors may have been an effort to air the President’s unhappiness with Tillerson in public.
NEW: Source close to White House: The White House put this Tillerson exit plan out there to express its extreme displeasure with him.
— Michelle Kosinski (@MichLKosinski) November 30, 2017