Tillerson: Reports That Trump Looking to Replace Him as Secretary of State ‘Laughable’

By Melanie Arter | December 1, 2017 | 1:27 PM EST

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (Screenshot of State Department video)

(CNSNews.com) - Reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is being replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo are “laughable,” Tillerson said Friday.

The New York Times and other media outlets reported that Tillerson would be replaced in the next few months with Pompeo, whose post would be filled by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

During a media appearance with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Seraj, Tillerson was asked whether some at the White House want him to resign, to which Tillerson responded: "It's laughable ... laughable."

On Thursday, reporters asked President Donald Trump whether he wants Tillerson on the job.

“He's here. Rex is here,” Trump said before a bilateral meeting with Crown Prince of Bahrain Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa.

During a White House briefing Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked whether Trump has confidence in Tillerson and whether he agrees with all the positions Tillerson has taken regarding North Korea.

“Look, 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. 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've seen to be an incredible year,” Sanders said.

A reporter questioned Sanders use of the phrase “close out” the year, asking, “Sarah, you repeatedly said that Tillerson would help to close out a successful year. Are you saying that he will close out the year? Will he serve beyond that?”

“In terms of the secretary of State, I think I've spoken about that pretty extensively and answered that question,” Sanders said.

“But that language seemed pretty deliberate by you. Were you really meaning to signal --” the reporter asked.

“We're all closing out the year. You guys are closing out the year in your news network. We don't set the calendar. That's something that happened a few centuries ago. The year is going to end whether we like it or not, and we're all going to close it out, and we're all going to do the very best job we can for the American people in that process,” Sanders said.

“I don't mean anything by it more than that. I'm closing out the year. You guys are. I know most of you are doing end-of-the-year stories, because that's how the calendar works -- the year ends, and we're going to end on a really strong note, and I think we're going to end the briefing on a strong note,” she concluded.


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