- The Washington Times - Friday, December 1, 2017

President Trump on Friday shot down speculation that he is looking to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, calling a spate of breathless reports this week fake news.

It was the strongest statement of support yet by Mr. Trump for his top diplomat, a day after the White House would only defend Mr. Tillerson by saying he was still in the job.

“The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon - FAKE NEWS!” the president said via Twitter and Instragram. “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!”

News reports this week had suggested Mr. Trump was looking to oust Mr. Tillerson next month, that he had planned to name CIA Director Mike Pompeo as a replacement, and that the very public speculation over Mr. Tillerson’s future was an intentional White House strategy to shame the diplomat.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Tillerson have clashed over a number of key foreign policy issues, including the confrontation with North Korea and the Iran nuclear deal.

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