Trump replaces Tillerson with Pompeo in dramatic shake-up
PRESIDENT DONALD Trump unceremoniously dumped Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday – by tweet – and picked CIA Director Mike Pompeo to take his place, abruptly ending Tillerson’s turbulent tenure as America’s top diplomat and escalating the administration’s chaotic second-year shake-up.
Tillerson was ousted barely four hours after he returned from an Africa mission and with no face-to-face conversation with the president, the latest casualty of an unruly White House that has seen multiple top officials depart in recent weeks. Citing the Iran nuclear deal and other issues, Trump said he and Tillerson were “not really thinking the same.
“We disagreed on things,” Trump told reporters at the White House – a diplomatic take on a fractious relationship that included reports that Tillerson had privately called the president a “moron.”
Appearing in the State Depar tment briefing room for likely the last time, Tillerson’s voice quavered as he described successes of his roughly one-year tenure: an economic pressure campaign on North Korea and a new Afghanistan plan.
“I will now return to private life, private citizen, a proud American, proud of the opportunity I’ve had to serve my country.”
He did not mention Trump – other than to say that he’d spoken by phone to the president Tuesday while Trump was on Air Force One.
He said he would delegate all authority to Deputy Secretary John Sullivan, who will serve as acting secretary until Pompeo is confirmed. Tillerson will remain secretary in name until March 31, when he formally resigns his commission.