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Sec of State Rex Tillerson, reportedly looking to exit, says 'I'm not going anywhere'

  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he is "not going anywhere" following reports he is looking to exit his post.
  • Tillerson could resign by the holidays or sooner sources told CNN and Politico.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday appeared to tamp down reports that he could leave his post by year end.

"I'm not going anywhere," Tillerson said on Wednesday after being questioned about his commitment to staying in his position. Asked how long he plans to stay, he said, "As long as the president lets me."

Tillerson's friends outside Washington D.C. say he plans to stay at the State Department through the holidays so he can walk away with a year in the cabinet under his belt, CNN reported Monday. But others told the network Tillerson could leave sooner.

The former Exxon Mobil CEO has been frustrated by State Department staffing issues and policy differences with President Donald Trump, and considers Trump's public criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions unprofessional, several sources told CNN.

President Donald Trump (R) sits next to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a bilateral meeting with China's President Xi Jinping (Not Pictured) at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
President Donald Trump (R) sits next to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a bilateral meeting with China's President Xi Jinping (Not Pictured) at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

Trump has repeatedly rebuked Sessions lately for recusing himself from an FBI investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 elections. Trump told The New York Times last week it was unfair to him. He has continued to issue broadsides against Sessions on Twitter, leading to speculating that the attorney general could soon step down.

Politico on Monday reported Tillerson is reconsidering how long he will stay and feels he "is not being allowed to do his job."

Tillerson made his comments on Wednesday during a photo op with the Qatari foreign minister. The secretary has defended Qatar in its diplomatic crisis with Gulf neighbors, but Trump has at times contradicted official statements regarding the dispute from the State Department.

Trump's impromptu remarks about Qatar financing extremists are a source of frustration for Tillerson, a source told Politico.

Asked about his relationship with the president, Tillerson said it's "good."