"I spoke directly to the president last night", Sanders said.
The White House has pushed back against rumours of a forthcoming staffing purge, insisting reports of imminent departures from the Trump administration are overblown.
With a laugh, Trump said: 'Who's next?'
In any case, if you thought Tillerson suffered enough public humiliation this week when the president fired him in a tweet, always remember: in this White House it can always get worse.
In recent weeks, the president's top economic adviser has resigned over a policy dispute, the secretary of state he long clashed with was sacked and a slew of top aides headed for the exits.
Two embattled Cabinet secretaries Ben Carson at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and David Shulkin at the Department of Veterans Affairs remained in their posts despite speculation that they would soon be replaced because of the presidents anger over their use of public funds.
The factionalism that defined the early days of his tenure has faded, and he has lost some of the close aides who could manage his volatile impulses.More news: SpaceX made a Falcon Heavy launch video with Westworld creators
But the air of stability the White House tried to project felt more like a pause than a permanent shift. That followed the announcement that National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn is stepping down.
Stephens argues Trump's move to make Mike Pompeo his new Secretary of State is an improvement. And junior-level aides were particularly troubled by the abrupt exit this week of Trump personal assistant John McEntee, who was removed from his job and escorted off White House grounds - then quickly handed a job on Trump's re-election campaign.
In an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room", Panetta told Wolf Blitzer that the president should avoid surrounding himself with "yes-men" who are willing to express "different opinions" to him. The reality is, Tillerson never had the flexibility given to former Secretary's of State had to do their job efficiently and still serve the president's interests.
McMaster, for his part, said Sanders had "set it straight" but struck a slightly different tone.
Kelly has been credited with imposing order on the chaotic West Wing, but his relationship with Trump has come under strain, as well. The president was speaking to friends outside the administration about his frustrations with advisers, Mr Kelly suggested.
At least one of Trump's "generals" - the collection of military advisers he used to boast about - remains largely in good standing.
Multiple White House officials have said that the president has chose to seek a new national security adviser, leading one online gambling site to give McMaster the best odds at becoming the "next to be fired or resign from Donald Trump administration". There was nobody more loyal to Trump than Sessions.
However, he is also understood to have admitted that the sense of chaos that has enveloped the West Wing had probably been inflated by Mr Trump himself.