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Photo: Cliff Owen / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been politically dead for months; the only question is when they're going to hold his funeral.

Sound smart: CIA Director Mike Pompeo — as we first telegraphed — is an obvious choice for Trump as a replacement because the two have a stronger relationship than the president has with just about anybody else.

Here's why Tillerson is on the way out:

  • Trump can't stand him and has contradicted him on many major policy issues — from North Korea, to Iran, to Qatar, to Saudi Arabia.
  • He has no allies in the White House, few if any in the State Department beyond his innermost circle and he's managed to alienate even his tiny number of supporters on Capitol Hill.
  • His natural constituency would've been Democrats and moderates who view him and General Mattis as restraints on the president, but he lost that crowd because of what he's done to the State Department — a bungled reorganization and a failure to appoint people to top jobs.
  • He never had favor among mainstream Republicans in foreign policy circles because he's got a history of ignoring the human rights agenda to get business done.

Most damning of all: When foreign leaders and diplomats hear Tillerson speak, they know he's not speaking for the president. They know this because Trump makes it abundantly clear, in public.

Go deeper: How Rex Tillerson alienated every ally he needs

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes on the Senate runoffs

The future of U.S. politics, and all that flows from it, is in the hands of Georgia voters when they vote in two Senate runoffs on January 5.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the election dynamics with former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who served between 1999 and 2003.

2 hours ago - Health

Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that struggling state hospital systems must transfer patients to sites that are not nearing capacity, as rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations strain medical resources.

Why it matters: New York does not expect to get the same kind of help from thousands of out-of-state doctors and nurses that it got this spring, Cuomo acknowledged, as most of the country battles skyrocketing COVID hospitalizations and infections.

Arizona certifies Biden's win

Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Arizona officials certified the state's presidential election results on Monday, paving the way for President-elect Joe Biden to be awarded its 11 electoral votes.

Why it matters: The move deals yet another blow to President Trump's efforts to block or delay certification in key swing states that he lost. Biden beat the president in Arizona by more than 10,000 votes.