Rex Tillerson out as Secretary of State

Erika Holt
March 13, 2018

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

In a statement, the president offered praise for Tillerson as he becomes yet another top official to exit the White House: "I want to thank Rex Tillerson for his service".

Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before Mr. Trump's announcement. Ms. Haspel, the agency's current Deputy Director who will become its first woman chief, also helped carry out an order that the agency destroy its waterboarding videos.

"We got along actually quite well, but we disagreed on things", said the president.

He tried to salvage the Iran nuclear deal through a European-brokered fix to the Obama-era agreement, rather than having Trump scuttle the deal completely. I guess he thought it was okay.

Trump spoke Tuesday of his desire to break the deal, but notes that Tillerson "felt a little bit differently, so we were not really thinking the same".

"I had a very good conversation with Director Pompeo this morning and look forward to meeting with him soon", Corker said in a statement. I think it's going to go well. One of Tillerson's aides told the Associated Press that Trump never explained to Tillerson why he was sacked, or even spoke to him, and that Tillerson had wanted to stay in his position.

The Cabinet reshuffle comes as Trump sets out to hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a high-wire diplomatic gamble.

Tillerson had told reporters on his plane he had cut short his trip by one night because he was exhausted after working most of the night two nights in a row and getting sick in Ethiopia. It was later announced he was flying back to Washington DC on Tuesday.

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There had been longstanding rumors throughout most of Tillerson's tenure of friction between Trump and his secretary of state, a former Exxon Mobile Corp. CEO. The move comes after the secretary of State asserted Monday night that Russian Federation "clearly" was responsible for the poisoning of a former British spy, a statement that went well beyond comments from the White House.

Mr Tillerson did manage to hang around through those earlier controversies, outliving his earlier expectations that he would be gone by year's end.

This morning's tweet from Donald Trump confirming the sacking caught many people by surprise. Now it's clear he had one move in particular in mind. According to The Associated Press, she ran the secret Central Intelligence Agency prison where accused terrorists Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded in 2002. She is a career intelligence officer who joined the CIA in 1985.

CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel will replace Pompeo as the head of the CIA.

Reports had swirled since previous year of a schism in the Trump administration between the commander-in-chief and his top diplomat. Where will this potential summit with North Korea take place?

Mr Trump contradicted Tillerson's efforts a day later.

In fact, according to a report by Fox News, the president chose to make this decision ahead of the expected upcoming summit between him and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

But Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said Tillerson "did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason".

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