I'm NOT firing Tillerson, that's FAKE NEWS says Trump - but president admits they disagree on 'certain subjects' saying 'I call the final shots'
- Donald Trump tweeted that he is not firing Rex Tillerson and that claims he had a plot to oust him were 'FAKE NEWS'
- President admitted 'we disagree on certain subjects' but said 'we work well together and America is highly respected again!'
- Tillerson was all smiles as he surfaced Friday and Tillerson told reporters: 'It's laughable ... laughable.'
- CNN characterized?the plot as 'shaming' Tillerosn from office then replacing?him with Mike Pompeo, the CIA director??
Donald Trump tweeted Friday that claims he was plotting to oust Rex Tillerson from the State Department are 'FAKE NEWS' - then admitted the two do not agree on 'certain subjects'.
'He's not leaving,' he said, but made clear that he was in charge saying 'I call the final shots'.
The tweet came after 24 hours of fevered speculation that Tillerson was being forced out by a White House plot.
Tillerson on Friday dismissed reports that the White House was weighing such a plan under which he would be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo as 'laughable.'
Media reports on Thursday, first published by the New York Times, cited U.S. officials as saying that Trump has a plan to replace his embattled secretary of state with Pompeo, a former U.S. congressman who now heads the Central Intelligence Agency.
Asked if some at the White House wanted him to resign, Tillerson told reporters: 'It's laughable ... laughable.'
No Rexit from me: Trump tweeted that it was not true that he was forcing out his Secretary of State?
I'm still here: Rex Tillerson appeared in public with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj to laugh off claims about his future - even though the president gave him no vote of confidence
His comments came as he posed for pictures with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Seraj of the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli.
Tillerson's relationship with Trump has been strained by the top U.S. diplomat's softer line on North Korea and other policy differences, as well as by reports in October that he had called the president a 'moron.'
Tillerson has not directly addressed whether he made the comment, though his spokeswoman denied it.
Asked on Thursday whether he wanted Tillerson to remain in his job, Trump sidestepped the question, telling reporters at the White House: 'He's here. Rex is here.'
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Thursday White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had told Tillerson's chief of staff the reports on Tillerson being replaced were not true.
The report that after months of clashes on policy and personality, Trump is considering ousting Tillerson and replacing him with hard-nosed CIA Director Mike Pompeo following less than a year on the job sent shockwaves through Washington.
The White House plan, which Trump has not yet signed off on, would force a major realignment early in his term, also creating a vacancy atop the CIA that officials said could be filled by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas.?
It was characterized as 'shaming' Tillerson out of office in a CNN report.
'He's here': How Trump responded when asked about Tillerson's future, although the Secretary of State was not actually in the room when he said it
The overhaul could produce a significant shift in both the tone and direction of the president's foreign policy, removing it from the understated former oil man whose style has never fit well with Trump's.
TRUMP'S DEPARTURE LOUNGE IS GETTING CROWDED...?
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's expected exit from the Trump administration is one of many staff changes likely as President Donald Trump nears the end of his first year in office, with sources saying top economic adviser Gary Cohn and son-in-law Jared Kushner could be among those who depart.
Cohn, whose relationship with Trump became tense earlier this year, has considered leaving once the Republican effort to overhaul the U.S. tax system is completed in Congress, according to the sources with ties to the White House who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Kushner, who has seen his influence in the White House shrink, may receive a 'face-saving' exit as he deals with legal challenges related to a special counsel's investigation of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign's potential ties to Russia, one of the sources said.
'This is pure speculation,' said White House spokesman Raj Shah in an emailed statement about potential staff moves.
It is exceedingly rare for a secretary of state, America's face on the global stage, to be fired or to serve for a year or less.?
Nor is it common for presidents to have such a significant Cabinet revamp so soon after taking office. Too much churn could fuel the perception of chaos in the Trump White House - perhaps one reason he has yet to pull the trigger.?
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Tillerson's closest ally in the administration, simply brushed off the report. "There's nothing to it," he said when asked.
But White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn't deny it. She did suggest that no move was imminent, saying the president and Tillerson planned to "work together to close out what we've seen to be an incredible year."
Does the president still have confidence in Tillerson? "When the president loses confidence in someone, they will no longer serve in the capacity that they're in," she said.
Friction between the president and the nation's top diplomat has grown increasingly public through the year.
After a report last month that Tillerson had called the president a "moron," Tillerson was forced to appear before cameras at the State Department to pledge fealty to his boss. Soon after, Trump publicly challenged his secretary to an IQ match.
For Tillerson, who left his job as Exxon Mobil's CEO, a premature departure from the Cabinet has seemed increasingly inevitable.
"There's been a Tillerson death watch since the spring," said Derek Chollet, a former State Department, Pentagon and National Security Council official in the Obama administration.
When Tillerson was tapped for the job late last 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.
Yet divisions on key foreign policy issues emerged quickly, and Trump has repeatedly undermined Tillerson by voicing positions at odds with those the State Department was pushing.?
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