Trump pushes back on reports of Tillerson ouster: ‘We work well together’
US State Department(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump on Friday continued to contest reports that the White House intended to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, calling such speculation “fake news” via Twitter.
The response from the president comes a day after the New York Times first reported on the plan, said to include a transfer of Pompeo from Langley to Foggy Bottom with Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. tabbed to take over leadership at the CIA. The plan’s development was later confirmed to ABC News by a senior White House official.
“The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon – FAKE NEWS!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday afternoon. “He’s not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!”
The tweet included a link to an Instagram post with the same text and a picture of Tillerson being sworn in as secretary of state in the Oval Office.
Asked Thursday about the report after meeting with the crown prince of Bahrain — a meeting that included the secretary — the president said only, “He’s here. Rex is here.”
Both White House and State Department officials pushed back against the news in the aftermath, with White House press secretary Sarah Sanders saying that there were “no personnel announcements” to make and State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert telling reporters that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called Thursday morning to say the “rumors” were untrue.
Trump’s tweet about Tillerson Friday came on a day in which Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor, pleaded guilty to a charge that he lied to FBI agents investigating Russian interference in last year’s presidential election. The president has yet to personally comment upon Flynn’s plea.
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