WASHINGTON • Top US diplomat Rex Tillerson does not plan to step down, the State Department has said, quashing reports citing differences with the White House.
Since taking the helm of the State Department in February, the former ExxonMobil chief has come under fire for his ultra-low profile, and his plan to slash by 30 per cent the budget of an agency that employs more than 70,000 people worldwide.
CNN reported that Mr Tillerson planned to leave by the end of the year, which State Department spokesman Heather Nauert flatly denied. "That is false. We have spoken with the Secretary. (He) has been very clear he intends to stay here at the State Department," she told reporters. "We have a lot of work that is left to be done ahead of us. He recognises that. He's deeply engaged in that work."
Pressed about Mr Tillerson's light schedule in recent days, Ms Nauert said he was "just taking a little time off".
"He just came back from that mega trip overseas," she added, referring to a trip that took Mr Tillerson to the Group of 20 summit in Germany, as well as to Turkey, Ukraine and Gulf countries. "So, he's entitled to take a few days."