Trump may replace Tillerson with Pompeo: reports

President Trump is reportedly planning to oust Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonFormer WH adviser: Trump will want to rejoin Paris climate pact by 2020 Why the US should lead on protecting Rohingya Muslims 'Bolivarian Diaspora' can no longer be ignored MORE, with CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe CIA may need to call White House to clarify Russia meddling Intel agencies to brief officials from all 50 states on election threats Russia probe complicating House hearing on threats facing US: report MORE potentially replacing him.

The swap could come in the next several weeks, The New York Times reported, citing senior administration officials. Still, the Times added that it is not clear whether Trump has approved the plan, which was devised by chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE.

Some administration officials had in the past suggested Tillerson could be replaced by U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyHaley slams Palestinian president on peace process at the UN: 'We will not chase after you' Washington puts Ethiopia's human rights abusers on notice Palestinian diplomat: Trump ‘disqualified America’ from being sole broker in Middle East peace deal MORE, but Pompeo has become the favorite to take the role due to his rapport with Trump, the Times reports.

The Associated Press also reported that the Pompeo swap is under consideration.

Under the plan, Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonGOP looks for Plan B after failure of immigration measures Senate rejects Trump immigration plan Our intelligence chiefs just want to tell the truth about national security MORE (R-Ark.) would replace Pompeo as CIA chief once Pompeo is moved to the State Department.

Cotton is expected to take the CIA job if offered, according to the Times. A spokeswoman for Cotton said his focus is on serving Arkansas in the Senate. 

Tensions between Trump and Tillerson have been brewing for months.

Earlier this year, Tillerson denied an NBC News report that top Trump administration officials, including Vice President Pence, had urged him not to step down from the State Department.


"The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as secretary of State because I have never considered leaving," Tillerson said.

Tillerson, at the time, refused to directly address the report that he referred to Trump as a "moron," saying that he would not “deal with petty stuff like that.”

Trump and Tillerson have also clashed over other issues.

In October, Trump rejected the idea of negotiating with the North Korean regime, saying he told Tillerson he is "wasting his time trying to negotiation with Little Rocket Man."

"Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!” Trump tweeted at the time.

Tillerson reportedly wanted to remain in his position until the end of the year "to retain whatever dignity he could," according to the Times.

This story was updated at 10:46 a.m.