White House Says Tillerson Is 'Here,' For Now

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is dismissing as

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is dismissing as"laughable reports that the White House is trying to get rid of him

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.

News media reports, first published by the New York Times, that Trump has a plan to replace his embattled secretary of state with Pompeo, a former USA congressman who now heads the Central Intelligence Agency, drew mixed reviews from serving us officials.

In 10 months as America's chief diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has found no world leader a greater challenge than the President of the United States.

When Tillerson was tapped for the job late previous year, many Trump critics expressed quiet relief that he'd picked a sober "adult" who could form a counterweight to the president's brasher, impulsive approach, especially on critical matters of war and peace.

A former Kansas congressman and the current Central Intelligence Agency director could become the new secretary of state. In October, Tillerson shot down a report that said he had been on the verge of resigning from his Cabinet position over the summer.

"This is a hellish environment for a secretary of state", said one State Department official on condition of anonymity.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly developed the plan to replace Tillerson, the report said, which involves nominating Sen. Under Arkansas law, if Cotton steps down before next July, the state's Republican governor would appoint a replacement who would serve until the November 2018 election.

The nature of the reported change also suggests a change in the administration's focus, with Tillerson having, for instance, ruled out imposing regime change in North Korea, while Pompeo, said to be a Trump favorite recently, has openly advocated it. She says Tillerson continues to lead the department.

"The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as secretary of State because I have never considered leaving", Tillerson said.

However, they said Pompeo would need to resist the planned budget cuts and find a way to grapple with Trump's tweets. Tillerson has been overtly refusing to take Trump's hostile line on North Korea. But he now appears poised to lose an argument: over Tillerson's objections, the president is poised to recognize the disputed city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

If carried out, the staff changes would be the latest in a string of firings or resignations in the Trump administration including the departures of the chief of staff, national security adviser and Federal Bureau of Investigation director. "But make no mistake: Mike Pompeo could be far worse".

Within minutes of Trump's sharing the videos, numerous news outlets reported that a number of the videos' titles were false or misleading.

Current and former officials said Pompeo was likely to get along better with Congress and with the White House, not least because of his conservative bent. Tillerson's advice to Trump to stay in the Paris climate deal and certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal was similarly overruled.

Tillerson has taken a more hawkish view than Trump on Russian Federation and tried to mediate a dispute after four Arab nations launched a boycott of Qatar.

The timing of Tillerson's expected departure remains uncertain, but multiple officials said the shake-up could come at the end of the year or early next.

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