Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Relations between Trump, Tillerson strained nearly from the start

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Erik Tate | 01 December, 2017, 06:21

In Thursday's White House press briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn't deny there is a plan to replace Tillerson: "When the president loses confidence in someone, they will no longer serve in the capacity that they're in".

Kelly Arnold, chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, says Pompeo's time as director of the Central Intelligence Agency gives a good indication of what his approach to leading the State Department might be.

"Tillerson was one of the most blatant revolving door cases in the Trump administration and a clear sign that Trump's government was of, by, and for the fossil fuel industry", said Louaillier in a statement.

Tillerson's likely ouster loomed awkwardly over an Oval Office meeting Thursday between Trump and the visiting Bahraini crown prince. The favored candidate to replace Tillerson is current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, which would leave a vacancy at the CIA. She says Tillerson continues to lead the department.

Florida targeting Dan Mullen
When the Florida job opened in 2015, former Gator athletic director Jeremy Foley immediately dismissed Mullen as a candidate. Mullen won two national championships at Florida as offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer.

This combination of pictures created on November 30, 2017 shows US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) and CIA Director Mike Pompeo in Washington, DC. Other officials say the Trump-Tillerson relationship has been souring for some time, despite Tillerson's denials. The secretary was reported to have privately called Mr. Trump a "moron" and the president publicly criticized Mr. Tillerson for "wasting his time" with a diplomatic outreach to North Korea. Both Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward are under consideration for that post.

Tillerson has at times put distance between himself and Trump's positions.

If carried out, the staff changes would be the latest in a string of firings or resignations in the Trump administration including the departures of the chief of staff, national security adviser and Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

"If the president undercuts what he is trying to achieve diplomatically, convinces people that whatever you agree to with the secretary of state will be overturned by the president ... then he is basically neutered", said Richard Boucher, a former top US diplomat who now teaches at Brown University.

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