President Trump has fired Rex Tillerson from his position as secretary of state after 14 months on the job. Trump announced that Tillerson will be replaced by Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA, a few minutes after the story broke.
“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State,” Trump tweeted after the news was first reported by the Washington Post.
“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!”
Trump has been critical of Tillerson’s performance, with a New York Times report as far back as November of last year suggesting that Trump was planning to fire Tillerson and replace him with Pompeo.
Trump and Tillerson have had many disputes over the running of the state department. The former Exxon CEO refused to deny privately calling Donald Trump a “moron.” The 65-year-old previously expressed interest in keeping his job and had just returned from a shortened diplomatic trip to Africa.
Trump has not explained his decision to fire Tillerson. However, a White House official stated the following to BBC News.
“The president wanted to make sure to have his new team in place in advance of the upcoming talks with North Korea and various ongoing trade negotiations.”
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
Trump publicly criticized Tillerson for trying to negotiate with North Korea in October of last year. Trump also challenged Tillerson to an IQ test in response to the widely reported “moron” comment.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) March 13, 2018
Trump sent shockwaves through the media by accepting an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un without any preconditions. If Trump is to go through with the meeting, that would make him the first U.S president to meet with a North Korean leader.
"I think Rex [Tillerson] will be much happier now. But I appreciate his service. But with Mike [Pompeo] we’ve had a very good chemistry right from the beginning," Pres. Trump says on sudden firing of Tillerson, who will be replaced by Pompeo as Secretary of State. pic.twitter.com/KJw77YxNdW
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 13, 2018
Tillerson was reportedly unaware that Trump had agreed to meet with Kim Jong-Un.
Gina Haspel will be the first female director of the CIA, which Trump highlighted in his tweet.
Recently, the White House refused to name Russia in condemning the poisoning of the Russian double agent in the U.K. Tillerson, on the other hand, named Russia in his condemnation of the attack, which the U.K. has accused Russia of orchestrating.