White House mum on report Secretary of State will be fired

White House refuses to confirm or deny report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be fired.

Tzvi Lev ,

Rex Tillerson
Rex Tillerson

The White House appeared to neither confirm or deny a New York Times report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be fired and replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

"There are no personnel announcements at this time. Secretary Tillerson continues to lead the State Department," said a source from within the Trump Administration. Tillerson also received support from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Bob Corker, who told Reuters that "He’s conducting business, as is the norm, and is unaware of anything changing".

According to Politico, Tillerson canceled his scheduled speech commemorating World AIDS Day after the report broke and headed to the White House.

Speaking with the Times on the condition of anonymity, senior Trump administration officials had said that the president is planning to fire Tillerson and replace him with former Kansas congressman and current CIA Director Michael Pompeo.

According to the report, President Trump would then appoint Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton to fill Pompeo’s position as CIA Director. The plan was reportedly drawn up by President Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly.

Rumors had been swirling for months in the press regarding Tillerson's alleged status. A New Yorker profile in October spoke of a State Department rocked by low morale, lack of discipline, and career diplomats at Foggy Bottom that were actively resisting Tillerson's "redesign" plans.

Thursday’s report in the Times is not the first public claim regarding the possible personnel changes. In October, NBC News reported that Pompeo was being considered for the State Department, with Tom Cotton a top candidate for replacing Pompeo at the CIA.

Earlier this year, Senator Cotton told Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic that "Jews are called Jews, because they’re from Judea ... It is a homeland to which the Jews have been attached for many millennia."