Senior administration officials confirmed on Thursday that the White House was considering a plan to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA director Mike Pompeo, the US media reported.
Reports of the expected change, first revealed by The New York Times on Thursday morning, got a boost when President Donald Trump ignored an opportunity to clarify the situation.
Asked before a Thursday morning meeting with the crown prince of Bahrain, whether he wants Mr Tillerson to remain as secretary of state, Mr Trump told reporters, that he was still “here, Rex is here.”
The New York Times reported that Mr Tillerson would be shown the door because his “relationship with President Trump has been strained” and The Washington Post reported that Mr Pompeo would replace him because he was “one of the most personally loyal and politically savvy members” of the Trump security team. Other media outlets noted that reports of Mr Tillerson’s disagreement with President Trump have been circulating since July 20, when NBC News reported that the secretary stunned other members of the Trump team by calling his boss “a moron” at a Pentagon meeting.