President Donald Trump on Tuesday removed Rex Tillerson as US Secretary of State, following months of policy disagreements. In a tweet, Trump announced that CIA Director Mike Pompeo will succeed the former Exxon Mobil chief executive and said he would do a "fantastic job."Trump thanked Tillerson for his 14 months of service as the country's top diplomat. "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!" Trump said.
The president also picked deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to run the spy agency. "Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!," he said in the tweet.
Earlier in the day, The Washington Post had reported the ouster of Tillerson, which Trump confirmed in the tweet. Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, and the embattled diplomat cut short his trip to Africa on Monday to return to Washington. The Post quoted three White House official as saying that Trump who has long clashed will Tillerson, who he believes is "too establishment" in his thinking felt it was important to make the change now, as he prepares for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as upcoming trade negotiations. Ever since Tillerson took the post in February 2017, there have been reports about differences between the White House and the State Department over several international crises. Tensions between the two hit new high when Tillerson, 65, publicly distanced himself from the president's defiant response to violence at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, this summer.
In October, NBC News had reported that Tillerson had come close to resigning this summer but was urged to stay in the job until the end of the year. Citing high-level administration sources, NBC had said Tillerson had referred to Trump as a "moron" in July following a meeting with the president's national security team.
Pompeo in a statement said he was "deeply grateful" to President Trump for the opportunity to serve as Secretary of State.
"His leadership has made America safer and I look forward to representing him and the American people to the rest of the world to further America's prosperity. Serving alongside the great men and women of the CIA, the most dedicated and talented public servants I have encountered, has been one of the great honors of my life."UNI SRJ SHK 1918
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