Trump sacks Rex Tillerson as state secretary

Gina Haspel

Trump tweeted Tuesday that he would nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and that he has selected Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo.

Mike Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will take his place.

This morning's tweet from Donald Trump confirming the sacking caught many people by surprise.

Rex Tillerson, who as a long-time corporate executive was an unconventional pick for secretary of state, seemed like he was on thin ice from very early on in his administration tenure.

The top U.S. diplomat's team said he was feeling unwell on Saturday and later in the weekend the state department said he would cut short his tour by a day. "He will miss his colleagues at the the Department of State and the foreign ministers he has worked with throughout the world".

Conspicuously missing: A statement from Tillerson himself.

A top State Department official said Trump never explained to Tillerson the reason why he was sacked. "The Secretary did not speak to the President this morning and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve".

Pompeo's alignment with Trump and outspokenness on sensitive policy issues raised questions among current and former CIA staffers who questioned whether the agency's director was pursuing policies and making recommendations that would please the White House, former intelligence officers say. "As I shared with the President, the committee will consider his nomination as expeditiously as possible".

Trump conceded Tuesday that he and Tillerson often were not on the same page. Last week, Trump's chief economic advisor Gary Cohn resigned after the president announced he would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Of Mr. Tillerson, the president said only, "I want to thank Rex Tillerson for his service".

Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last May, who had been leading an investigation into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation to influence the presidential election. "Chaos at the top may make for good reality TV but it's unsafe foreign policy". We wonder if this change can bring about a new perspective. "Given the new Secretary's background, though, it is highly doubtful".

Another European diplomat, by email: "There were rumors about Pompeo heading [State] for some time".

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But Trump fired him even as he was returning to the capital, and Tillerson reportedly learned of it from Twitter, where the President announced his successor. He cut his trip short by a day, citing important meetings in Washington he needed to attend, but he gave no indication he was on the cusp of losing his job.

Goldstein said, "We wish Secretary Pompeo well". Tillerson has urged Trump to stay in the landmark nuclear disarmament deal, but the president has vowed to withdraw by mid-May if it is not renegotiated. "I really appreciate his service".

The move comes less than a week after the Trump administration agreed to a historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Senior Trump administration officials also made it known in November that the White House had drafted a plan to replace Mr Tillerson.

Hope Hicks The White House communications director, one of Trump's longest-serving and most trusted aides, resigned on February 28.

Stocks pared gains on the Tillerson news, but then stabilized. McEntee was escorted out of the White House after he was sacked, reportedly for over an unspecified security issue.

Mr. Trump released a statement saying he was "proud" to nominate Pompeo to replace Tillerson. Haley has also worked with the US intelligence agency to declassify evidence linking Iran to the supply of ballistic missiles to Houthi insurgents in Yemen.

Diplomats responded cautiously to the new secretary of state nominee.

"We look forward to working with Mr. Pompeo, who is a highly regarded professional", said France's United Nations ambassador, Francois Delattre.

Another U.N. -based diplomat described the former congressman as an unknown quantity.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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