Senior Trump administration expect a Secretary of State change up to happen in the next few weeks. Rex W. Tillerson, current Secretary of State, has a well-known tumultuous history and rather strained relationship with President Trump. He’s expected to be replaced with CIA director Mike Pompeo, with Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton taking Pompeo’s position as director.
Sen. Cotton has been an ardent supporter of the President’s key issues on the Senate floor, including that of immigration and national security issues. The only question seems to be if the Senator is more valuable in his Congress seat, which is secure until 2020, or heading the CIA. If the move takes place, a replacement would be nominated to take Sen. Cotton’s seat until the 2018 election. If his seat fell Democrat during the 2018 election, it could be instrumental in Republicans loosing their slim majority.
While President Trump hasn’t officially signed off on the replacement plans and has a reputation for being reluctant to dismiss advisors, Mr. Cotton has indicated to officials that he would accept the job if and when it’s offered. When asked about Tillerson recently, President Trump simply stated, “He’s here.”
White House officials also aren’t reaffirming Tillerson’s job security when fielding questions about the ousting rumors. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement simply saying that there weren’t any personnel announcements at the time and that anyone President Trump looses confidence in will no longer serve in their capacity.
The potential change doesn’t surprise Washington insiders who point to a continuing lack of concurrence between the former Exxon Mobil CEO and the President on issues like the Iran nuclear deal, the Arab clashes, and the confrontation in North Korea. Then there’s incidents like President Trump’s public criticism of Tillerson for wasting his time with diplomacy and North Korea and Tillerson privately allegedly calling President Trump a moron.
Much of Tillerson’s agenda thus far has been to reorganize the State Department, including budget slashing and the push-out of over 2,000 long-term diplomats. After just three months, the advisor responsible for executing the plan quit this week.
Many on both sides of isle have expressed disappointment in how Tillerson has run the department. However, as a former Tea Party congressman, he’s also seen as a pragmatic, hawkish voice for the right.
Meanwhile, reps for the Secretary claim the rumors are false and pointed to his continuing foreign diplomacy itinerary for the weeks to come.
Even if Tillerson finishes out the year before a change is made, if it’s made, this would be the shortest tenure of anyone holding the office in over 100 years aside from those that ended during Presidential office changes. Tillerson’s initial appointment to Secretary of State was an enigma in of itself as the first in the office to ever be appointed without any prior government, military, or political experience under their belts.