U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson was back at work on Wednesday, with the state department dismissing rumours that he was planning to quit. The network quoted anonymous sources as saying Tillerson told people close to him that he would leave his job by the end of the year.
CNN said that among Tillerson's growing differences with the White House were fresh debates over Iran policy and personnel, as well as President Donald Trump's chaotic and confusing foreign policy approach.
The change in Tillerson's tone followed a stressful week for the secretary of state.
"The Secretary has been very clear he intends to stay here at the State Department", spokeswoman Heather Nauert said at a briefing Tuesday. "We have a lot of work that is left to be done ahead of us". The department said he was away from work to take some time off after a "mega-trip overseas".
Pressed about Mr Tillerson's light schedule in recent days, Ms Nauert said he was "just taking a little time off".More news: Berenberg Bank Reiterates "Buy" Rating for Mj Gleeson Plc (LON:GLE)
"He does، however، serve at the pleasure of the president، just as any Cabinet official،" she added، in what could be taken as a nod to the president's open criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and speculation that he might resign، too. "He recognises that. He's deeply engaged in that work".
She later clarified that the vacation was planned in advance and was not in response to any resignation rumors.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during the delegation photo with leaders from the Global Coalition Working to Defeat ISIS, at the State Department on March 22.
Tillerson has also been seen to be at odds with Trump on key foreign policy.
Worldwide tensions over cybersecurity have escalated since the United States intelligence community concluded that Russian Federation meddled in last year's presidential election with the goal of hurting Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and helping elect Donald Trump.