Trump Fires Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson
President Trump has fired his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and will replace him with the director of the CIA.
President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to make the announcement, tweeting:
“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! ”
Tillerson himself apparently learned that his job was in trouble on Saturday morning. White House chief of staff John Kelly called him while he was on a diplomatic tour of African nations and told him to hurry back to Washington, where he was officially fired.
Tillerson, who formerly was the head of Exxon Mobil, only became Secretary of State a little over a year ago. His entire term has been plagued with rumors about his difficult relationship with President Trump, and media speculation about how long he will last on the job.
Tillerson and Trump have often seemed to be at odds, disagreeing on major policy issues and undermining one another. There is plenty of bad blood between the two men also. Back in July, Tillerson reportedly called Trump a “moron” after a Pentagon meeting. Tillerson never confirmed or denied the report. The president angrily offered to take an IQ test to prove that he was more intelligent than his Secretary of State.
On Tuesday morning, President Trump told reporters at the White House that he and Tillerson “got along actually quite well” on a personal level but that they “disagreed on things.” “I actually got along great with Rex, but really, it was a different mindset,” Trump added.
Trump said they disagreed on North Korean policy, among other issues. The president recently announced that he will meet with North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, by May, and many are speculating that Trump wanted to replace Tillerson before those talks get underway.
Tillerson also thinks differently from Trump on the Iran deal; the president has said that it needs to be dismantled, while Tillerson apparently thought it could be made to work.
Trump plans to replace Tillerson with Mike Pompeo, currently serving as CIA director; Trump says he’s always “gotten along well” with Mike Pompeo.
Pompeo will need to be confirmed by the Senate before he can become Secretary of State. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to move as expeditiously as possible” to confirm Pompeo. That would likely mean holding a hearing in April.
Trump has also nominated Gina Haspel to be the new CIA director. Haspel, currently the deputy director, would be the first female CIA director if confirmed. Her time in the CIA has been controversial since she reportedly ran a secret “black site” CIA prison where terror suspects were waterboarded back in 2002. Haspel reportedly ordered the records of the waterboarding to be destroyed.