The New York Times reports: President Trump on Friday rejected reports that he would soon fire Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson as “fake news,” but declared that “I call the final shots” as he acknowledged his disagreements with his top diplomat.
The president’s tweet was posted a few hours after Mr. Tillerson described reports this week that the White House wanted him to resign as “laughable.”
“He’s not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!” Mr. Trump wrote in a midafternoon tweet defending Mr. Tillerson.
It marked an operatic turn in Mr. Tillerson’s tenure after months of reports that he would soon leave the Trump administration. The latest round was fueled by a plan to force out Mr. Tillerson that was conceived by John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, and unveiled by senior administration officials on Thursday.
The State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, denied on Thursday that Mr. Tillerson was leaving. But the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, notably did not, saying only that “there are no personnel announcements at this time” when asked whether Mr. Tillerson was on his way out.
Mr. Trump had also sidestepped questions on Thursday about Mr. Tillerson’s future. “He’s here. Rex is here,” Mr. Trump said then, in an underwhelming display of support that did not challenge the reports of Mr. Tillerson’s pending departure. [Continue reading…]