The White House has plans to give Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the boot and replace him with current CIA head Mike Pompeo, according to reports on Thursday.
Pompeo would be replaced at the Central Intelligence Agency by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., in a Trump administration shake-up that could come as early as January, The New York Times reported.
Tillerson, a former Exxon Mobil executive, has butted heads with President Donald Trump on several key issues regarding diplomacy and has publicly split from the official White House line on situations in North Korea and Iran.
Several reports noted that Tillerson called Trump a “moron” in private, which he has denied.
After engaging in a war of words with Trump last month, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told The Washington Post that the President had “publicly castrate(d)” Tillerson on the world stage with his frequent outbursts and threats.
While Tillerson’s exit has been speculated on for months, it was generally reported that he was expected to finish out the year.
Previous rumors circulated in Washington that White House officials were considering replacing Tillerson with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
Pompeo has become a trusted Trump adviser since being appointed to the CIA.
“Like President Trump, Director Pompeo is clear-eyed and hard-nosed about the threats we face, and he speaks in the direct, blunt manner of a man who has no time to waste when confronting those threats,” Cotton, who served alongside Pompeo in the House, told Politico.
Cotton taking over the nation’s spy agency would open up another seat in the Senate, a repercussion that would likely weigh on Trump’s ultimate decision, according to The Times.