Ever since he joked about wanting to “curl up into a ball” during a Switzerland trip, frequently maligned State Secretary Rex Tillerson has kept a relatively low profile. Then again, considering the recent trepidations of White House colleague Jeff Sessions and other noteworthy Republicans, avoiding the spotlight hasn’t been too difficult for the CEO-turned bureaucrat. This is no longer the case for Tillerson, unfortunately, because a new report out at Politico indicates his gig at the State Department is still on thin ice as far as Trump as concerned — so much so that the president is already eying a replacement.
According to several administration officials who spoke with Politico, Trump and CIA Director Mike Pompeo have become rather close — much like Trump and former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly did before the latter replaced Reince Priebus as chief of staff. The pair meets regularly at 10 a.m. for the daily intelligence briefing, but sources now indicate the president has begun asking Pompeo “to accompany him to his next meeting — whatever it is.” As a result, the CIA director is now the “odds-on choice” to replace Tillerson should he resign or be fired:
It’s not clear when Tillerson might leave — he has vigorously denied rumors that he plans to resign anytime soon — but Pompeo has told associates that he expects the president to tap him for the position and that he’d accept the job if it’s offered to him.
Despite numerous reports that the state secretary’s relationship with the president had deteriorated significantly, the White House insists no personnel changes or announcements are forthcoming. “The president is very pleased with his entire national security team, which includes Secretary Tillerson and Director Pompeo,” Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told Politico. “Together, they have led the world toward unprecedented pressure on North Korea, are crushing ISIS in Iraq and Syria and have convinced NATO members to contribute more to the common defense.”