Tillerson says reports Trump wants him out 'laughable'

Washington (AFP) –


US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday dismissed as "laughable" reports that President Donald Trump wants him to resign.

The relationship between the president and his top diplomat has been dogged for months by reports of a rift.

On Thursday, these came to a head when several US media outlets citing White House sources predicted Tillerson's resignation.

Asked by reporters whether leaks from the White House were designed to force him out, Tillerson said: "It's laughable."

The White House did little to downplay the reports, but a State Department spokeswoman insisted Tillerson's position was safe.

On Friday, Tillerson himself brushed off the challenge at a photo call with Libya's Prime Minister Fayez Serraj.

Later, he was due to see Trump at the White House for talks with Serraj and lunch with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.