President Trump has removed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo in a move that stunned Washington with its timing.
“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State,” Trump tweeted shortly after initial reports of the news.
“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
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
The news was first reported by The Washington Post.
Tillerson and Trump have had a tempestuous relationship, so it was not shocking that Tillerson would be removed.
At the same time, the timing of Tillerson’s firing was a surprise given the diplomatic workload at the moment.
Trump on Thursday shocked the world by accepting an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, which would make him the first U.S. president to even meet with a North Korea leader.
Trump and Tillerson had repeatedly clashed, most famously when the secretary of State reportedly referred to Trump in private as a “moron.”
The report clearly got under Trump’s skin, and the president responded by challenging his secretary of State to an IQ test.
There were also differences in rhetoric, including on Monday, when Tillerson pointed the finger at Moscow over the poisoning of a double agent and his daughter in London. The White House earlier in the day had notably not blamed Russia for the incident, despite claims from Great Britain’s prime minister.
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