'Rex is here.'
So said US President Donald Trump on Thursday when asked about reports that Rex Tillerson is to be replaced as Secretary of State.
Trump's response to journalists at the White House, as he hosted the Crown Prince of Bahrain, was hardly a ringing endorsement of the top US diplomat.
Tillerson's long-rumoured departure would end a troubled tenure for the former Exxon Mobil chief executive.
His softer line on North Korea and other differences have put him at odds with Trump, who he has allegedly called a 'moron'.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders wasn't giving any long term guarantees on Tillerson either.
Asked about his future by journalists at Thursday's press briefing, she said:
"Oh I think his future right now is to continue working hard as the Secretary of State, continue working with the president to carry out his agenda."
CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a Trump loyalist and foreign policy hard-liner, is tipped to step into Tillerson's shoes within weeks, according to reports across US media.
They say Pompeo would, in turn, likely be replaced by Republican Senator Tom Cotton, one of Trump's staunchest defenders in Congress.
The changes would come under a White House plan to carry out the most significant staff shake-up so far of the Trump administration.