Mattis: There's 'nothing' to reports of Tillerson leaving

Mattis: There's 'nothing' to reports of Tillerson leaving
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Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Air Force outlines plan for biggest force since end of Cold War | Trump admin slashes refugee cap | Mattis accuses Russia of meddling in Macedonia's NATO bid It’s long past time to tie the president’s hands Mattis warns of Russian meddling in Macedonia's bid for NATO: report MORE on Thursday brushed aside reports that President Trump is considering replacing Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonPompeo working to rebuild ties with US diplomats: report NYT says it was unfair on Haley curtain story Rubio defends Haley over curtains story: Example of media pushing bias MORE.

“I make nothing of it, there's nothing to it,” Mattis said in response to a reporter’s question on his response to reports that Tillerson is soon to step down.

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Multiple news outlets reported Thursday the White House was working on a plan to replace Tillerson with CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Air Force outlines plan for biggest force since end of Cold War | Trump admin slashes refugee cap | Mattis accuses Russia of meddling in Macedonia's NATO bid Hillicon Valley: Elon Musk sued by diver from Thai cave rescue | Researchers find new malware family | FEMA delays new presidential alert test Trump administration to cut refugee admissions to 30K for 2019 MORE.

The White House has rejected the report, as has State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, who said Thursday that White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE called Tillerson to tell him the story was false.

But press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday refused to say whether Trump has confidence in Tillerson.

“When the president loses confidence in someone, they will no longer serve in the capacity that they're in,” Sanders said.

Speaking at the beginning of a meeting with the Libyan prime minister at the Pentagon, Mattis also rejected the idea that diplomacy with North Korea had not worked given the isolated country’s missile launch earlier this week.

“I am not willing to say that diplomacy has not worked. We will continue to work diplomatically, we will continue to work through the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council, and we will be unrelenting in that,” Mattis told reporters.

“At the same time, our diplomats will speak from a position of strength because we do have military options," he continued.

Following North Korea's launch, Trump said the missile test would not alter the administration’s strategy to rein in Pyongyang. Tillerson, meanwhile, said diplomatic options “remain viable and open, for now.”