President Trump has recently been shuffling White House staff, but nobody saw this major move coming.
The Hill reports:
President Trump has removed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo in a move that stunned Washington with its timing.
Trump has nominated Gina Haspel, Pompeo’s current deputy, to lead the CIA.
Trump told reporters Tuesday morning that he made the decision “by myself,” signaling he did not speak with Tillerson before firing him.
“I actually got along great with Rex, but really, it was a different mindset,” Trump said from the White House.
State Department officials did not immediately respond to The Hill’s requests for comment on Tillerson’s abrupt ouster.
Trump and Tillerson had repeatedly clashed, most famously when the secretary of State reportedly referred to Trump in private as a “moron.”
The report clearly got under Trump’s skin, and the president responded by challenging Tillerson to an IQ test.
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
Trump tweeted the news of the staff changes shortly after Tillerson’s firing was first reported by The Washington Post.
“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State,” Trump tweeted shortly after initial reports of the news.
“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!”
Tillerson and Trump have had a tempestuous relationship, so it was not shocking that Tillerson would be removed.
However, the timing of Tillerson’s firing was a surprise given the diplomatic workload at the moment.
Trump on Thursday shocked the world by accepting an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which would make him the first sitting U.S. president to meet with a North Korean leader.