"It's laughable," Tillerson said in response to a request by journalists to comment on reports claiming the White House plans to remove him from the position of the US secretary of state.
The statement followed the Wall Street Journal report, citing unnamed sources, claiming that a number of administration's officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were expected to leave their post. However, White House spokesman Raj Shah has immediately denied the report, calling it "pure speculation."
On November 30, the New York Times reported citing administration officials that the White House was planning to replace Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo by the end of 2017 or shortly later, prompting a response voiced by State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, who said that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly notified the department that the reports about plans to remove Tillerson were not true, adding that the foreign policy chief remains committed to his job.
President Donald Trump has first declined to comment on the media reports regarding Tillerson on Thursday, but later said that the allegations are "fake news," however, admitting having several disagreements with the member of his administration.
The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon — FAKE NEWS! 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!https://t.co/FrqiPLFJ1E— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1 декабря 2017 г.
The claims of the upcoming resignation of the US secretary of state date back to this summer, when CNN reported that Tillerson was considering stepping down from the State Department before the end of the year due to growing frustration with the Trump administration.
NBC News subsequently reported that three officials familiar with an alleged crisis in relations between Trump and Tillerson said Tillerson was infuriated with the president during the summer over the issue of North Korea and after a July 20 Pentagon meeting allegedly called him a "moron," a claim strongly denied later by both the president and the Secretary of State.