Tillerson was reported in October to have privately called Trump a "moron," something the secretary of state sought to dismiss. Pompeo is reportedly much closer to President Trump and has a good relationship with the President, unlike Tillerson, who has appeared to distance himself from Trump on a number of occasions.
Buffeted by multiple reports that President Trump will replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in another of the top-level shakeups that have roiled the administration, the State Department struggled Thursday to portray business as usual.
When asked about reports, Mr Trump declined to say whether he wanted Mr Tillerson to remain in the job.
Tillerson's likely ouster loomed awkwardly over an Oval Office meeting Thursday between Trump and the visiting Bahraini crown prince.
But White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn't deny it.
The White House plan, which Trump has not yet signed off on, would force a major realignment early in his term, also creating a vacancy atop the Central Intelligence Agency that officials said could be filled by Republican Sen. Tillerson has been overtly refusing to take Trump's hostile line on North Korea.
Under his plan, the staff reshuffle would happen around the end of the year or shortly afterward. On several occasions, the president publicly undercut his diplomatic initiatives.
"So the question is not whether Pompeo can do the job but whether the president is going to let Pompeo do the job". Both Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward are under consideration for that post.
Some argued that things at the State Department can hardly get worse than they have been under Tillerson, whose 10-month reign has been marked by an exodus of top diplomats, deep dismay at planned 30 percent budget cuts, and conflicts with Trump.
The former ExxonMobil executive has also defended the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump last month disavowed.