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Tillerson Says Plans To Stay In Top U.S. Diplomatic Post Through 2018

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he plans to stay in his post through 2018 despite speculation he might leave soon due to strained relations with President Donald Trump.

In an interview with CNN on January 5, Tillerson said he thought the Trump administration had a "very successful" year in 2017 and was now executing policies that he hoped would lead to "a very, very successful 2018."

When pressed on his plans, Tillerson said, "I intend to be here for the whole year."

Tillerson's relationship with Trump appeared to sour over the course of 2017. NBC reported in October that Tillerson referred to the president as a "moron" after a Pentagon meeting in July. In November, there were reports the White House was contemplating replacing him.

Tillerson told CNN the president had given him no indication his job was in jeopardy.

The CNN interview coincided with the release of a sharply critical book on Trump's first year as president. The book portrayed the U.S. leader as behaving like a child and raised new questions about his fitness for public office.

Asked if he thought Trump was mentally fit for office, Tillerson said: "I've never questioned his mental fitness. I have no reason to question his mental fitness."

Based on reporting by CNN, Reuters, and AFP