Trump fires Secretary of State Tillerson, taps Central Intelligence Agency director Pompeo

Aaron Brown
March 14, 2018

"The unceremonious and abrupt termination of Secretary Tillerson sends a poor message to people who might consider serving in the Trump administration", Whitehouse wrote in a news release.

In October, NBC news reported that Mr Tillerson called the president a "moron," something he never actually denied.

"The secretary will miss his colleagues at the Department of State and enjoyed working together with the Department of Defense in an uncommonly robust relationship", he added, in a nod to Tillerson's close working relationship with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

The diplomat said he will pass along departmental powers to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and will work to ensure a "smooth and orderly" transition to the next department head. Blessing said he believes the president will have Pompeo play on his knowledge of North Korea and Russian Federation.

He said he was nominating the CIA's deputy director, Gina Haspel, to take over for Pompeo at the intelligence agency.

Haspel's leading role in the program was first spotlighted past year after she was named as the CIA's deputy director.

But there were numerous policies on which Trump and Tillerson did not see eye to eye. In his announcement pulling out of the deal previous year, Trump said it was "very unfair at the highest level to the United States". I wanted to either break it or do something, he felt a little differently. Secretary-designate Pompeo, who has been criticized in the past for statements about Islamic leadership and has no diplomatic experience, was chosen by Trump because the two have a "very, very similar thought process".

Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas, has already been confirmed by the Senate for his current role at the Central Intelligence Agency, making it extremely likely that he will be confirmed for the State Department role.

Still, this is also a critical time in Canada-U.S. relations, and it appears Canada has just lost a key ally in the Trump administration with the president's move to fire Tillerson.

A top aide said Tillerson did not speak to the president before his firing was announced and was not given a reason for his dismissal.

Within hours, Goldstein himself was sacked.

Pompeo, a former member of Congress, may prove more adept at winning friends on Capitol Hill.

Some foreign policy experts expressed dismay at the decision to swap out top diplomats so soon before the unprecedented meeting and anxious that Pompeo would encourage Trump to scrap the Iran nuclear deal and be hawkish on North Korea.

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Tillerson was completely out of step with Trump's hard-line stance on North Korea, which ultimately brought Kim Jong Un to the bargaining table.

Trump's change puts Pompeo, an ardent foe of the Iran nuclear deal, in charge of US diplomacy as the president decides whether to withdraw the USA from the agreement.

The State Department was unaware of the reasons for Tillerson's firing, an official there said Tuesday morning.

While traveling in Africa on Monday, Tillerson called Russian Federation "an irresponsible force of instability in the world".

Reince Priebus, the bland former chairman of the Republican National Committee, was supposed to manage the White House workflow and control the door to Trump's office.

Trump's position: Last June, Trump announced that the United States would pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

Trump and Tillerson's antagonism was public knowledge among global politicians.

The easiest will be North Korea.

The White House distanced itself from those remarks, and a few days later, Tillerson himself backed off. That should help address the gnawing uncertainty among leaders around the world created by mixed messages from Trump and Tillerson.

Some said Washington may take a harder line under Pompeo and the Europeans may be under more pressure to offer concessions, while others suggested his views on the deal have evolved and he may be better placed to influence Trump to keep it.

Haspel will likely face questioning in her Senate confirmation for her involvement in the Thailand incident.

Lawmakers from both major parties have criticised those cuts and the administration's failure to fill dozens of open jobs there. But Tillerson's oversight of the State Department was bad.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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