President Donald Trump suggested Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may be replaced before the 2020 election, telling Fox News he was unsure if the former Exxon CEO would remain in his position till the end of Trump’s first term.
Speaking with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham Thursday night, Trump waivered when asked whether he would retain Secretary Tillerson for the full term.
“We’ll see,” said Trump. “I don’t know who’s going to be [in the position for the] duration.”
But the president added that he felt Tillerson was “working hard” and “doing his best”.
Earlier this month, NBC News published a report claiming that Secretary Tillerson had nearly resigned from his position this summer, and that he had referred to the president as “a moron” during a meeting with senior security officials.
President Trump denounced the report, calling it “fake news”.
“NBC news is #FakeNews and more dishonest than even CNN. They are a disgrace to good reporting. No wonder their news ratings are way down!” Trump tweeted.
Tillerson refused to comment on the report, calling it “petty”, adding that he believes the president “loves this country…puts Americans and America first. He’s smart.”
Policy differences between the two became public this month after the president took to Twitter to advise Tillerson to give up on negotiations with Pyongyang, saying that it was a “waste of time” to pursue a deal with North Korea.
"I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man..." Trump wrote on his Twitter account.
"...Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!" he added.
Trump's statement followed U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's acknowledgement that the United States was directly communicating with North Korea on its nuclear and missile programs.
"We are probing so stay tuned," Tillerson told a group of reporters in Beijing, adding, "We ask: 'Would you like to talk?' We have lines of communications to Pyongyang. We're not in a dark situation, a blackout."