He really is a petty little man.

The rumors that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will soon be ousted from his role and replaced by current CIA Director Mike Pompeo may have no actual basis in truth.

While multiple sources have cited a plan already in place, Defense Secretary James Mattis has blown it off as so much hogwash. Senator Bob Corker has likewise dismissed the reports.

According to a new CNN report, they may both be right, but not totally.

The plan may be, instead, to humiliate Tillerson and get him to just go.

From CNN:

Reports that the White House has a tentative plan to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that emerged Thursday were an effort to express President Donald Trump’s deep displeasure and publicly shame his secretary of state, a source with direct knowledge of the White House’s thinking said Thursday.

The hope from the White House, the source said, is to push out the plan to replace Tillerson and then “wait for him to punch out.”

So what’s the problem?

Some have speculated about problems ranging from Tillerson’s desire to do things his own way, to the fact that he didn’t directly address the stories that he’d called Trump a “moron.”

The attempt at public shaming is just the latest such instance emanating from the Trump White House, where the President has repeatedly publicly undermined his secretary of state and publicly berated his attorney general.

Wouldn’t it be easier just to tell him it’s not working out?

I guess not if you’re a small, vindictive little man-baby.

When confronted on Thursday, Trump didn’t deny the rumors, but he didn’t go out of his way to express any support for Tillerson, either.

“He’s here. Rex is here,” Trump offered, noting that Tillerson was in the building — but not in the room — at the time.

Another kicker: When asked, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders could not say that President Trump still has confidence in Secretary Tillerson. Many are taking that to mean that Trump has the long knives out for Tillerson.

The response was equally uninspired from the White House briefing room, where White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said simply that “when the President loses confidence in someone, they will no longer serve in the capacity that they’re in.”

Yes, but what does that mean for Tillerson?

As the rumor was floated on Thursday, Tillerson would be replaced by Pompeo, and Senator Tom Cotton was Trump’s choice to fill the CIA director spot.

Moving Cotton to that slot, should he accept it, could prove a gamble for the GOP, as it would leave another seat open for 2018. Cotton isn’t up for reelection until 2020.

If there is an actual plan to replace Tillerson, it’s expected to be made certain by the end of the year or the beginning of 2018.

In the meantime, Trump, Tillerson, and Mattis have a scheduled lunch meeting today. Maybe they can hash it out there.