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Tillerson sits to Trump's right at a cabinet meeting in January. Photo: Ron Sachs, Pool / Getty Images

President Trump's firing-via-tweet of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, following his sudden imposition of tariffs, reflects the president's increasing comfort with solo use of his awesome power over policy, personnel and politics.

Why it matters: White House officials tell us that it's getting ever more difficult for aides to disagree with Trump, or stand up to him about the consequences of decisions great and small.

  • One of the many breaking points in the relationship was when NBC reported that Tillerson called Trump a "moron." While the president was publicly calling it “fake news,” privately he told confidants he believed Tillerson probably said it.
  • Trump told a source at the time: “I can't believe he didn't say he didn't call me that. He probably did." 
  • Trump told another source that he made Tillerson famous and had never shown proper gratitude after Trump gave him this “prestigious” job. "He can't bring himself to defend me," Trump told the source. "There's no loyalty. He thought he was somebody [as CEO of Exxon], but I made him Secretary of State. There's no more prestigious position than that and this is how he repays me."
  • We're told Trump trusts his own instincts and counsel more than he did a year ago. So it's getting harder to talk him out of acting on whims and grievances.
  • And with the departure announcements by aides who have had a moderating or restraining influence, he has ever fewer restraints and guardrails.
  • What's next: The big question inside the West Wing is whether Trump keeps going and pushes through a complete overhaul.

The big picture, from N.Y. Times: "Tillerson’s dismissal, on the heels of Gary D. Cohn’s resignation, pulls the Trump administration further out of the economic and foreign policy mainstream and closer to the nationalist ideas that animated Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign."

  • "As the White House absorbed the news about Mr. Tillerson, rumors swirled that the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, and the secretary of Veterans Affairs, David J. Shulkin, would soon follow him out the door."
  • "The sense of disarray was deepened by ... the sudden dismissal of a personal aide to Mr. Trump."

N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, calling Tillerson on Friday to tell him that change was afoot, and to cut short a trip to Africa:

“You may get a tweet.”

How it's playing ... Bloomberg: "Trump Moves Closer to Presidency of One With Tillerson Firing."

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Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes mix-and-match for COVID booster shots

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Wednesday gave its approval for Americans to get booster shots that are different from the COVID vaccine they initially received.

Why it matters: The recommendation from the FDA, which also authorized booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, paves the way for an expansion of booster shots.

GOP congressman forfeits committee seats after indictment

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) on Wednesday stepped down from his committee assignments after being indicted for lying to federal investigators amid a probe into illegal campaign donations.

What they're saying: In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Fortenberry said he is "grateful for the outpouring of support from my friends and colleagues as we work against the injustice confronting me."

Rahm Emanuel questioned on murder of Laquan McDonald in confirmation hearing

Rahm Emanuel during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Oct. 20. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the murder of Laquan McDonald during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to become the U.S. ambassador to Japan, saying that "there's not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven't thought about this."

Catch up quick: McDonald was a Black teenager who was fatally shot 16 times by Chicago police during Emanuel's tenure as the city's mayor. The 2014 shooting triggered massive protests, both because of its nature and the fact that the officers' body-cam footage was concealed for years.