Representatives urge Secretary Tillerson not to close cybersecurity office

by Abel Hampton July 28, 2017, 0:15
Representatives urge Secretary Tillerson not to close cybersecurity office

With the terse remarks, delivered during a photo opportunity with Qatar's foreign minister at the State Department, Tillerson sought to quell speculation about his future. Asked how long he was going to stay, he firmly said, "As long as the president lets me".

Washington has been rife with rumors this week that Tillerson would soon leave his post due to frustration with U.S. President Donald Trump and others in the White House.

Pressed about Tillerson's light schedule in recent days, Nauert said the secretary was "just taking a little time off".

"I don't know what is standard for secretaries of state", Nauert said.

Talk of Tillerson's departure comes as President Trump openly feuds with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

When Nauert was asked why Tillerson's time off was not being directly referred to as a vacation, she said she was unsure what language was typically used for such absences.

Tillerson's absence coincides with a number of reports hinting at growing tension between the secretary of state and the president.

Before last week, Tillerson had strongly maintained he would see through his task of reorganizing the entire State Department after Trump's March budget proposal laid out plans to cut $10 billion from its roughly $47 billion in funding.

The difference of opinion has been most evident in Trump and Tillerson's views on the ongoing diplomatic fallout between the Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

"He does, however, serve at the pleasure of the president just as any Cabinet official would", she added.

While circumspect, Tillerson talked about the challenges of his new job earlier this month, telling reporters that it differed from his former role as chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp, where "I was the ultimate decision-maker. He recognizes that. He's deeply engaged in that work".

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