President Trump just announced via Twitter that he has removed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and is replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. This is a major shakeup to the national security team during a very turbulent time involving Iran, Russia, China and North Korea.
It is being reported that Trump asked Tillerson to step aside, causing Tillerson to cut short his trip to Africa and return to Washington, DC. Pompeo will replace him at the State Department and Gina Hapsel, who is the deputy director at the CIA, will take Pompeo’s place at the CIA. She will become the first woman to run the spy agency, if confirmed.
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! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
President Trump praised both Pompeo and Hapsel, “I am proud to nominate the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, to be our new Secretary of State,” Trump said. “Mike graduated first in his class at West Point, served with distinction in the U.S. Army, and graduated with Honors from Harvard Law School. He went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives with a proven record of working across the aisle.” Trump continued by saying, “Gina Haspel, the Deputy Director of the CIA, will be nominated to replace Director Pompeo and she will be the CIA’s first-ever female director, a historic milestone. Mike and Gina have worked together for more than a year, and have developed a great mutual respect.”
Trump also had praise for Rex Tillerson, “Finally, I want to thank Rex Tillerson for his service. A great deal has been accomplished over the last fourteen months, and I wish him and his family well.” It has been well known for a long time that Trump and Tillerson clashed frequently on international issues. Trump had forewarned that big changes were about to take place, but the announcement this morning still took everyone by surprise. Probably most of all Rex Tillerson. The President is preparing for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, as well as upcoming trade negotiations, three White House officials said.
“I am deeply grateful to President Trump for permitting me to serve as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and for this opportunity to serve as Secretary of State,” Pompeo said in a statement. “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.”
Haspel also issued a statement, stating that she was excited by her promotion, “After 30 years as an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency, it has been my honor to serve as its Deputy Director alongside Mike Pompeo for the past year,” she said. “I am grateful to President Trump for the opportunity, and humbled by his confidence in me, to be nominated to be the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.”
The media, including overseas, are trying to dramatize the history between Trump and Tillerson, who did not have a copacetic relationship – the BBC had this to say:
Last October Mr Tillerson was forced to convene a news conference to deny reports that he was considering quitting, though he did not comment on a report that he had called his boss a moron after a meeting last July at the Pentagon.
Last autumn, Mr Trump publicly undercut the former Texas oilman by tweeting that he was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with nuclear-armed North Korea.
Mr Tillerson was reported to be astonished at how little Mr Trump grasped the basics of foreign policy.
The New York Times quoted sources as saying Mr Trump was irritated by Mr Tillerson’s body language during meetings.
Mr Tillerson was said to roll his eyes or slouch when he disagreed with the decisions of his boss.
The Washington Post first broke the story and had the initial statement from President Trump and the White House. Trump published a tweet following a report from The Washington Post concerning the shake-up. Tensions between Trump and Tillerson have simmered since Tillerson took the job in 2017. The Secretary of State was reportedly asked to return to Washington and informed he would be let go by Trump. Tillerson, a former chief executive of ExxonMobil, was appointed to the job just over a year ago.
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