U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Friday to refute media reports that Secretaty of State Rex Tillerson had been fired, or that he was leaving his job.
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Instead, the president blasted the reports as "FAKE NEWS!" and claimed that any disagreements would be worked through because "I call the final shots," and that thanks to the pair of them, America was now "highly respected."
Earlier Friday Tillerson responded to reports that the White House is considering a plan to oust him, calling them "laughable."
Tillerson was asked about the reports during a photo-op with the visiting Libyan prime minister. Tillerson said twice, “It’s laughable,” but made no other comments to journalists before leaving the room.
Donald Trump's White House is planning to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, The New York Times reported Thursday.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has been promoting the plan as a result of major policy differences between President Trump and Secretary Tillerson on issues such as the Iran nuclear deal, the crisis between Qatar and its neighbors, and the nuclear threat from North Korea. Tillerson is expected to leave his post by early 2018, according to the New York Times.
Reuters independently confirmed the report, as a senior administration official claimed the plan has been in the works for a number of weeks.
The State Department has said Tillerson plans to remain on the job. He is scheduled to leave Monday on an official, four-country trip to Europe.