In an interview set for broadcast Sunday, President Trump speculated whether Secretary of Defense James Mattis might soon leave the administration, just weeks after a book by journalist Bob Woodward reported that Mattis had privately compared Trump to a "fifth- or sixth-grader."
Asked by "60 Minutes" host Lesley Stahl whether Mattis would depart, Trump responded, "Well, I don't know. He hasn't told me that."
He continued: "I have a very good relationship with him. I had lunch with him two days ago. ... It could be that he is. I think he's sort of a Democrat, if you want to know the truth. But General Mattis is a good guy. We get along very well. He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves. Everybody.
People leave. That's Washington."
The president also called reports that the White House is in chaos "so false" and "fake news." He added, "I have people now on standby that will be phenomenal. They'll come into the administration.
"Yeah, other people will go, sure," Trump told Stahl. "We have a great Cabinet. There are some people I'm not happy with. I have some people that I'm not thrilled with. And I have other people that I'm beyond thrilled with."
"Secretary Mattis is laser-focused on doing his job -- ensuring the US military remains the most lethal force on the planet," Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Robert Manning said Sunday in response.
Trump's comments come shortly after U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley abruptly announced her resignation. They also highlight what some media reports have indicated is an unusually large number of high-level departures from the Trump administration -- figures recently contextualized in an analysis by the nonprofit Brookings Institution.