World Bulletin / News Desk
A reported White House plan that would see Secretary of State Rex Tillerson removed from office and replaced with CIA Director Mike Pompeo is "fake news", President Donald Trump said Friday.
Tillerson is "not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!" the president wrote on Twitter.
The post links to a photo of Tillerson being sworn in during an Oval Office ceremony as Trump and Vice President Mike Pence look on.
Earlier Friday, the top diplomat shrugged off the report and claims he wants to resign, calling them "laughable".
Tillerson has been publicly at odds with his boss on a number of major foreign policy developments -- urging a diplomatic solution to North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs as Trump urged him not to waste his time, as well as in the Gulf crisis where Trump has directed rancor at Qatar as Tillerson seeks a mediated end.
He has also been a defender of the international community's nuclear deal with Iran -- an agreement Trump pledged to scrap on the campaign trail, and has continued to lambast after taking office.
The report by the New York Times on Thursday is not the first time Tillerson has been rumored to be on his way out. In October, he dismissed claims he was planning an exit because of tensions with Trump. But the newspaper said he is intent on finishing the year before leaving.
The shakeup was planned by Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly, according to the Times. But Kelly telephoned the State Department shortly after the story was made public to deny the report.
If the plan to remove him in favor of Pompeo is carried out, it would be the first time in more than 100 years that a top diplomat has left the post in such a short time without a change in administrations.
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