Mike Pompeo might bring assets to 'hellish' secretary of state role

Mike Pompeo might bring assets to 'hellish' secretary of state role

Kerry Wise
December 1, 2017

President Donald Trump is considering a plan to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose relationship has been strained by the top USA diplomat's softer line on North Korea and other differences, senior administration officials said on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear whether Trump had given final approval to the latest staff shake-up, but one of the officials said the president asked for the plan to be put together.

Asked whether he wanted Tillerson to remain in his job, Trump sidestepped the question, telling reporters at the White House: "He's here".

Sen. Tom CottonTom CottonGOP sen: Fire anyone in CFPB who disobeys Mulvaney Five health-care fights facing Congress in December Cotton: I hope we go back to health care next year MORE (R-Ark.) would then replace Pompeo as Central Intelligence Agency chief, the Times reported, according to the White House's plan. Democratic Party of Arkansas spokesman Graham Senor says, "There's a long line of people who have expressed interested in running against Senator Cotton in 2020, so we expect that a U.S. Senate election in 2018 would see many people throw their hats in the ring".

Mr Trump surprised many observers when he tweeted that Mr Tillerson was "wasting his time" pursuing contacts with North Korea, and Mr Tillerson was quoted as having said that the president was a "moron", though he denied having said it.

Days before that, Mr Trump had appeared to undermine Mr Tillerson, saying that...

Tillerson's top priority as secretary has been his sweeping overhaul of the State Department, a "redesign" that has been lambasted by lawmakers from both parties and that the State Department concedes has hurt morale among diplomats. On several occasions, the president publicly undercut his diplomatic initiatives.

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Gentry, whose office has to deal face-to-face with many of those situations that send kids to foster care, addressed the crowd. Phillips said Adoption Day is meant to promote adoption as an option for families who want to help kids find permanency.

Senator Bob Corker, a senior voice on foreign policy, spoke to Tillerson on Thursday and said the secretary of state was unaware of any plans to oust him. "It feels like whiplash", a State Department official said.

Tillerson answered that "the president speaks for himself".

The former ExxonMobil executive has also defended the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump last month disavowed.

"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 in June called on Arab nations to ease their blockade on Qatar, Trump emerged in the Rose Garden hours later to lambaste Qatar for funding terrorism.

His tenure has coincided with the departure of dozens of veteran foreign policy hands, and numerous State Department's senior policymaking positions remain unfilled.