"Secretary Tillerson continues to lead the State Department and the entire cabinet is focused on completing this incredibly successful first year of President Trump's administration", she added in a statement distributed by the White House pool.
"This is a hellish environment for a secretary of state", said one State Department official on condition of anonymity.
The response was equally uninspired from the White House briefing room, where White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said simply that "when the President loses confidence in someone, they will no longer serve in the capacity that they're in". "It seems like an odd way to run an administration to put a story out there that seems to imply that Tillerson is on borrowed time, but we're gonna keep him in the job for two months", said Wallace.
Friction between the president and the nation's top diplomat has grown increasingly public through the year.
"The succession thing to me is just chatter at the moment", they said. Then, he would fill the Central Intelligence Agency job with Sen.
Tillerson's aloof management style and cost-saving plan to restructure the State Department, including slashing around 2,000 positions, has not helped his popularity.
He has offered effusive praise for Trump despite the president's criticism of USA intelligence agencies, some of which concluded that Russian Federation conducted an influence campaign to boost Trump in the 2016 presidential election. The senator has advised Trump on issues like the Iran nuclear deal and immigration.
In September in Beijing, Tillerson said Washington was probing North Korea to see whether it was interested in dialogue and had multiple direct channels of communication with Pyongyang.
The ouster of Mr. Tillerson would end a turbulent reign at the State Department for the former Exxon Mobil chief executive, who has been largely marginalized over the past year.