Rex Tillerson was fired as secretary of State on Tuesday, ending a tumultuous tenure as America’s top diplomat that was marked by a series of public disagreements with his boss — President Donald Trump.
Trump said he will nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace the former Exxon Mobil chief executive and Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to run the spy agency. She would become the first woman to do so.
The Washington Post first reported the news, which the president quickly confirmed in a tweet. Tillerson found out about his firing through Trump’s tweet Tuesday morning, NBC News reported, citing a senior State Department official.
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
State Department spokesman Steve Goldstein said Tillerson had no plans to leave. He “did not speak to the president this morning and is unaware of the reason” for his firing, the spokesman added.
Trump later told reporters he disagreed with Tillerson on some issues and feels he “will be much happier now.”
“Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time. We got along actually quite well, but we disagreed on things,” the president said as he left for California. “When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible, I guess he thought it was OK. … So we were not really thinking the same. With Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process. I think it’s going to go very well.”
In a statement, Trump said he is confident Pompeo “is the right person for the job at this critical juncture.” The Army veteran and former congressman will “continue our program of restoring America’s standing in the world, strengthening our alliances, confronting our adversaries, and seeking the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the president said.
If confirmed by the Senate, Pompeo would take on Tillerson’s tough task of coordinating policy with an often unpredictable president. Tillerson’s departure was widely expected for months, but he reportedly wanted to serve a full year.
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