Donald Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and is nominating CIA director Mike Pompeo to replace him.
Tillerson has often found himself publicly at odds with Trump when it came to major issues like North Korea, the decision to move America’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and the Paris climate agreement. According to the Post, Trump asked him to step aside on Friday.
In October of last year it was reported that Tillerson called Trump a “fucking moron” in a meeting. Tillerson then had to publicly grovel and affirm that Trump was indeed “smart,” but the sense that his time was coming to an end still hung in the air—so much so that Trump had to publicly refute it. Here is a fun tweet from just last December:
Gina Haspel, deputy director of the CIA, has been nominated to succeed Pompeo. As a CIA officer under George W. Bush, Haspel oversaw so-called “black sites” where suspects were tortured.
This major change comes just weeks after a number of top aides resigned from the White House and right before Trump’s planned historic meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. And just yesterday, Tillerson criticized Russia as “an irresponsible force of instability in the world” over an alleged nerve agent attack in Britain.
Pompeo, who has downplayed Russian meddling and taken hard-line stances on North Korea and Iran, will likely align closely with Trump’s views. In a statement, Pompeo praised Trump, stating that his “leadership has made America safer.” Sure!
Update, 9:33 AM: A statement from the State Department claims that Tillerson was blindsided by this decision:
And the AP’s Zeke Miller reports that Trump says he made the decision to fire Tillerson “by myself.”
Update, 9:54 AM: