White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at Thursday’s press briefing that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will “close out the year” just like reporters “because that’s how the calendar works.”
Reporters pressed Sanders throughout the briefing about reports that President Donald Trump is planning to replace Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and nominate Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) to head the CIA. Sanders responded that if Trump ever loses confidence in someone, they will no longer serve in his administration and that Trump and Tillerson will continue to work together to close out an “incredible year.”
“Look, as we’ve said many times before, as many of you love to write these type of stories, when the president loses confidence in someone, they will no longer serve in the capacity that they are in,” Sanders said. “The president was here today with the secretary of state. They engaged in a foreign leader visit. And they are continuing to work together to close out what we have seen to be an incredible year.”
At the end of the briefing, Sanders was asked to clarify what she meant by saying that Tillerson will close out the year.
“You said Tillerson to close out a successful year. Are you saying that he will close out the year? Will he serve beyond that?” the reporter asked.
“In terms of the secretary of state, I think I’ve spoken about that pretty extensively and answered that question,” Sanders responded. “We are all closing out the year. You guys are closing out the year in your news network. We don’t set the calendar. That’s something that happened a few centuries ago.”
“The year is going to end whether we like it or not,” she continued. “We will all close it out and do the best job for the American people in that process. I don’t mean anything by it more than that. I’m closing out the year. You guys are. I know most of you are doing end of the year stories because that’s how the calendar works.”