On Tuesday the White House announced that President Trump planned to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. President Trump first announced the replacement of the Secretary of States on Twitter Tuesday morning.
A State Department spokesman said that Tillerson was unaware of the reason for being replaced when Trump made his announcement. The spokesman further stated “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State,” the President tweeted. “He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!”
President Trump spoke to reporters as he was leaving to White House for California. The President acknowledged he and Tillerson have had disagreements over several issues. He also stated that he and Pompeo have a “similar thought process.” “We got along actually quite well but we disagreed on things,” Trump said of Tillerson. “When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible. I guess he felt it was okay…So we were not really thinking the same.”
When asked about his relationship with Pompeo, the President said: “Tremendous energy. Tremendous intellect. We’re always on the same wave length. The relationship has always been very good. That’s what I need as secretary of state.”
Over the last several months there have been rumors of disagreements and friction between the President and Tillerson.
It is unknown if the President’s decision had anything to do with Tillerson’s trip to Africa.
A White House official told new reporters that the President decided to make the change ahead of his upcoming meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The official further stated “The President wanted to make sure to have his new team in place in advance of the upcoming talks with North Korea and various ongoing trade negotiations,” the adviser said.
President Trump selected Tillerson (the former chief executive of ExxonMobil) as his Secretary of State after taking office. But from the beginning there have been rumors of the two disagreeing over foreign policy strategies.
As President Trump spoke to reporters he stated “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.”
Under Secretary Steve Goldstein told Fox News, that Tillerson had every intention of staying and that he will be missed by his State Department colleagues.
Before joining the Trump administration, Pompeo was an elected Congressman from Kansas. He will now be the first former CIA director to become Secretary of State.
In a statement that Pompeo released early Tuesday morning he 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,” “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.”
In a statement released to the media Haspel 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,”.
New reports indicate that Republicans on Capitol Hill have reacted warmly to the selections. Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton stated, “Mike Pompeo is an outstanding selection as our next Secretary of State,”. He further added “Mike’s deep understanding of world affairs, his clear-eyed view of the threats to our national security, and his key relationships with world leaders make him an excellent choice to be our top diplomat.”