The White House has developed a plan to oust US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose relationship with President Donald Trump has been tense, and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, according to a new report.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly developed the transition plan and has discussed it with other officials, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing senior Trump administration officials who insisted on anonymity.
Under Kelly’s plan, Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, would replace Pompeo at the CIA. The shake-up would happen around the end of the year or shortly afterward, the newspaper said.
The Senate confirmed Tillerson, 65, as secretary of state in early February. He had previously been the CEO of ExxonMobil, one the largest oil and gas companies in the world.
It was not immediately clear whether Trump has given final approval to the plan, but he has been said to have been at odds with Tillerson over a host of major foreign policy issues.
Tillerson’s departure has been widely anticipated for months, but associates have said he planned to remain until the end of the year. Even so, an end-of-year exit would make his time in office the shortest of any secretary of state in nearly 120 years.