The White House has devised a way for President Trump to send Secretary of State Rex Tillerson packing, replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo in the next few weeks, the New York Times has learned.
Unnamed senior administration officials told the Times that Pompeo would then be replaced by Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican who has been a friend to the president on national security issues.
Cotton, the officials told the paper, has said he would take over the CIA if asked.
The White House has come up with a plan for President Trump to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the New York Times reported Thursday
The plan is the brainchild of Chief of Staff John Kelly, the Times reported, with the idea that the shakeup would occur at the end of the year or shortly into 2018.
Whether Trump will pull the trigger is still up in the air.
What’s apparent, however, is the rocky relationship between the two men, who didn’t know each other before the president tapped the former ExxonMobil CEO to be the nation’s top diplomat.
The two most dramatic incidents of the Tillerson and Trump working relationship both came in October.
On October 1, while Tillerson was meeting with Chinese leaders in Beijing, the president undercut his efforts with North Korea by closing the door, via Twitter, on talks.
‘I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,’ Trump wrote. ‘Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!’
Tillerson had just told the international community that the U.S. had spoken with North Korea through direct channels, which was a revelation.
‘We’ve made it clear that we hope to resolve this through talks,’ the secretary of state had said at a press conference in Beijing.
Those in the diplomatic community were largely shocked that a president would so directly step on the feet of his secretary of state.
Several days later, NBC News had a report out that said Tillerson had labeled Trump a ‘moron’ after a Pentagon meeting – and had almost resigned after the president gave a politicized speech at the Boy Scout Jamboree.