Vanity Fair also cited current and former State Department staffers in a report about Tillerson’s potential replacement, saying Pompeo is a more likely successor than UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Quoting senior administration officials, the Times said Pompeo’s role at the CIA would be given to Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) as part of a plan to oust Tillerson. Cotton’s office said Thursday his current “focus is on serving Arkansans in the Senate,” according to BuzzFeed.
While meeting with the Crown Prince of Bahrain Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa on Thursday, Trump told reporters Tillerson was at the White House but ignored questions about Tillerson’s future with the State Department.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that Tillerson “continues to lead the State Department.”
On Friday, Trump tweeted that Tillerson is “not leaving.”
Pompeo has been Tillerson’s expected successor for months. A Politico report from Nov. 15 said Pompeo has told people he expects Trump to choose him as the next secretary of state, and he would accept the job, if offered.
“Having somebody like Pompeo come into the State Department would be great news,” Gorka said.
Tillerson has had a rocky tenure at the State Department, marked by many public contradictions with Trump on issues like North Korea and the Iran nuclear deal. In March, Tillerson admitted he “didn’t want this job.”
“My wife told me I’m supposed to do this,” he said.
He famously held a press conference in October to reaffirm his commitment to Trump after NBC reported Tillerson called the president a “moron.” Tillerson remarked that Trump is “smart” but did not directly deny the NBC report, saying, “I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that.”
Trump called reports of Tillerson’s criticism “fake news” and argued he could beat the secretary of state in an IQ test.
This story has been updated.