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Trump says unsure if Tillerson will remain top US diplomat

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One departing from Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland on November 3, 2017, embarking on an 11-day tour of Asia. (photo by AFP)

US President Donald Trump says he is not sure if Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will remain in his post through Trump’s term in the White House, underscoring the complicated relationship between the two during the past nine months.

In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Trump said that he alone determines US foreign policy and attacked the US State Department for not supporting his agenda.

"The one that matters is me," Trump said. "I'm the only one that matters because, when it comes to it, that's what the policy is going to be.”

The US president also said he is “not happy” that some State Department officials are not supporting his agenda.

Asked if he planned to keep Tillerson on board for the rest of his term, Trump said, "Well, we’ll see. I don’t know."

Tensions between Trump and Tillerson resurfaced last month amid reports that Tillerson had called Trump a "moron" and had considered resigning over the summer.

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Trump is heading to Asia on an 11-day trip with Tillerson following months of conflict between the two.

It will be his first official visit to Asia as president, and it will mark his longest continuous trip during his time in office.

Tensions between Tillerson and Trump have been simmering for months, sometimes visibly as the two have publicly diverged on some of the administration's most crucial foreign policy challenges, including Iran and North Korea.

FBI director James Comey, White House press secretary Sean Spicer, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and national security adviser Michael Flynn are among the senior officials forced from their roles by the Republican president early in his term.

Richard Haas, president of the Council of Foreign Relations, said Trump's comments spelled trouble not just for the current secretary but for overall American foreign policy.

"It's not just about Rex Tillerson, it's about who comes after Rex Tillerson. If the president is not determined to make sure his secretary of state will succeed, the secretary of state can't succeed," Haas told CBS News on Friday.

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