With the reported troubles between President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson still popping up in the news, a new rumor has emerged that Trump is eyeing the idea of replacing Tillerson with John Bolton, President George W. Bush’s U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Bolton was seen entering the White House on Tuesday while the president lunched with Secretary Tillerson, according to CNN via NTKNetwork.
“The president is having lunch with the Secretary of State right now and the Secretary of Defense,” CNN’s John King reported. “At the White House at the same time: a man who’s sometimes floated around as a potential replacement for Rex Tillerson, John Bolton.”
Bolton’s appearance at the White House will probably add fuel to those rumors as Bolton has been rumored as a possible replacement for Tillerson.
Tillerson, of course, caused quite a stir last week by mounting a surprise press conference causing some in the media to assume he was about to announce his resignation from the Department of State.
The unscheduled press conference came after several days of reports that Tillerson and Trump were having arguments — with Tillerson reported as calling Trump a “moron” — and the media insisted that Trump was about to fire the Secretary of State.
As NBC reported early in October:
The tensions came to a head around the time President Donald Trump delivered a politicized speech in late July to the Boy Scouts of America, an organization Tillerson once led, the officials said.
Just days earlier, Tillerson had openly disparaged the president, referring to him as a “moron,” after a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon with members of Trump’s national security team and Cabinet officials, according to three officials familiar with the incident.
After that, some media outlets reported that the tensions between Tillerson and the president were so bad that Vice President Mike Pence had to intervene to smooth the waters.
For instance, NBC reported:
While it’s unclear if he was aware of the incident at the Pentagon, officials said Vice President Mike Pence counseled Tillerson, who is fourth in line to the presidency, on ways to ease tensions with Trump, and other top administration officials urged him to remain in the job at least until the end of the year.
With these reports filtering throughout the media, Tillerson decided to set the record straight in a very public way.
In his October 4 presser, Tillerson slammed the media for its “nonsense,” Fox Insider reported.
At an unscheduled press conference on Wednesday, Tillerson insisted that he never threatened to leave his post and he remains committed to Trump’s foreign policy goals.
“My commitment to the success of our president and our country is as strong as it was the day I accepted his offer to serve as secretary of state. President Trump’s America-first agenda has given voice to millions who felt completely abandoned by the political status quo and who felt their interests came second to those of other countries,” Tillerson said.
A reporter asked Tillerson point blank about the report that he called the president a “moron.”
“This is what I don’t understand about Washington. I’m not from this place, but the places I come from, we don’t deal with that petty nonsense,” Tillerson replied. “It is intended to do nothing but divide people. And I’m just not going to be part of this effort to divide this administration.”
The president also slammed the media for the “fake news” about his reportedly rocky relationship with his Secretary of State.
NBC news is #FakeNews and more dishonest than even CNN. They are a disgrace to good reporting. No wonder their news ratings are way down!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2017