Tiller­son lat­est vic­tim of White House fir­ings, res­ig­na­tions

In the big­gest shakeup of the his chaos­driven cab­i­net, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump fired Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son, who now is one of the short­est serv­ing sec­re­taries of state in mod­ern his­tory

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Rex W. Tiller­son was ousted yes­ter­day to be re­placed by CIA Di­rec­tor Mike Pom­peo, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­nounced, adding to the list of fir­ings and res­ig­na­tions in the White House. The CIA’s deputy di­rec­tor Gina Haspel will be­come the new di­rec­tor.

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump fired Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son on Tues­day af­ter a se­ries of pub­lic rifts over is­sues in­clud­ing North Korea and Rus­sia, re­plac­ing his chief diplo­mat with loy­al­ist CIA Di­rec­tor Mike Pom­peo.

A se­nior White House of­fi­cial said Trump asked Tiller­son to step down on Fri­day but did not want to make it pub­lic while he was on a trip to Africa. Trump’s an­nounce­ment came only a few hours af­ter Tiller­son landed in Wash­ing­ton af­ter a trip that had been cut short.

Trump spoke of his dis­agree­ments yes­ter­day with Tiller­son. “We got along ac­tu­ally quite well but we dis­agreed on things,” Trump told re­porters. “When you look at the Iran deal, I thought it was ter­ri­ble, he thought it was okay. I wanted to ei­ther break it or do some­thing, he felt a lit­tle dif­fer­ently. So we were not re­ally think­ing the same.”

Fric­tion be­tween the pres­i­dent and the coun­try’s top diplo­mat has grown in­creas­ingly pub­lic through the year. For Tiller­son, who left his job as Exxon Mo­bil’s CEO, a pre­ma­ture de­par­ture from the cab­i­net had been de­scribed by me­dia out­lets as in­evitable. At the White House, frus­tra­tion with Tiller­son has mounted over what of­fi­cials have de­scribed as his aloof­ness and his slow­ness in fill­ing key roles to carry out the pres­i­dent’s agenda.

“There’s been a Tiller­son death watch since the spring,” said Derek Chol­let, a former State Depart­ment, Pen­tagon and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil of­fi­cial in Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Trump and Tiller­son have not al­ways seen eye to eye on mat­ters of for­eign pol­icy. On Mon­day Tiller­son blamed Rus­sia for the poi­son­ings in Eng­land of a former Rus­sian dou­ble agent and his daugh­ter. Ear­lier, White House press sec­re­tary Sarah San­ders re­frained from say­ing Moscow was re­spon­si­ble. When Tiller­son in June called on Arab coun­tries to ease their block­ade on Qatar, Trump emerged in the Rose Garden hours later to lam­baste Qatar for fund­ing ter­ror­ism. Trump also deemed diplo­macy with North Korea a waste of time when Tiller­son was pur­su­ing just that. Tiller­son’s ad­vice to Trump to re­main in the Paris cli­mate deal and cer­tify Iran’s com­pli­ance with the nu­clear deal was sim­i­larly over­ruled.

Pom­peo, in con­trast, has formed a tight re­la­tion­ship with Trump that has led to a role much broader than many past CIA di­rec­tors. A former busi­ness­man and con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­can con­gress­man from Kansas, Pom­peo is at the White House nearly ev­ery day to de­liver the daily in­tel­li­gence brief­ing, a task of­ten del­e­gated to less se­nior of­fi­cials. He some­times stays longer to ac­com­pany Trump to other meet­ings. He shares the pres­i­dent’s hard­line stance against Iran.

Tiller­son joined a long list of se­nior of­fi­cials who have ei­ther re­signed or been fired since Trump took of­fice in Jan­uary 2017. Oth­ers in­clude strate­gist Steve Ban­non, na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Michael Flynn, FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, health sec­re­tary Tom Price, com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tors Hope Hicks and An­thony Scara­mucci, and press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer. The lat­est to an­nounce his exit is Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief eco­nomic ad­viser, who had clashed with the boss over trade pol­icy.

Cohn’s de­par­ture has sparked in­ter­nal fears of an even larger ex­o­dus, rais­ing con­cerns in Wash­ing­ton of a com­ing “brain drain” around the pres­i­dent that will only make it more dif­fi­cult for Trump to ad­vance his al­ready lan­guish­ing pol­icy agenda.

Co­in­cid­ing with the heated de­bate over tar­iffs, Trump’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Hope Hicks, one of his clos­est and most de­voted aides, an­nounced her res­ig­na­tion late Fe­bru­ary, leav­ing a glar­ing va­cancy in the in­for­mal cadre of Trump loy­al­ists in the White House. Turnover af­ter just over a year in of­fice is noth­ing new, but the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has churned through staff at a dizzy­ing pace since tak­ing of­fice last Jan­uary, and al­lies are wor­ried the sit­u­a­tion could de­scend into a free-fall.

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump (R) an­nounced the de­par­ture of Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son (L), to be suc­ceeded by the cur­rent CIA di­rec­tor Mike Pom­peo.

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