Trump Fires Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Nominates CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Replacement
“Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time.”
President Donald Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and will nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his replacement.
The State Department’s statement said that Tillerson does not know why Trump let him go.
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
But why let go of Tillerson? Even he does not know:
Remarkable statement from State Department spokesman on Tillerson firing: pic.twitter.com/iBpLaK1tXw
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 13, 2018
Trump explained why he fired Tillerson as he exited the White House:
On the South Lawn Tuesday, Trump told reporters he was “close” to having the Cabinet he wanted, wishing Tillerson well while predicting “great” things from Pompeo in the State Department role.
“Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time,” the president said before boarding Marine One to head to California. While the two got along “well,” said Trump, “we disagreed on things.”
“We were not really thinking the same,” Trump said of Tillerson. “With Mike [Pompeo]…we have a very similar thought process. I think it’s gonna go very well.”
As for Tillerson, Trump thinks he “will be much happier now.”
I saw reports that Trump asked Tillerson to leave his post on Friday. Tillerson, while in Africa, canceled his events in Kenya and told others he didn’t feel well. He also then took a different route from the White House when he said the nerve agent that poisoned an ex-Russian spy in the UK came from Russia. From CNBC:
Tillerson, echoing the British government’s finger-pointing toward Moscow, said he didn’t yet know whether Russia’s government knew of the attack with a military-grade nerve agent, but that one way or another, “it came from Russia.” He said it was “almost beyond comprehension” why a state actor would deploy such a dangerous substance in a public place in a foreign country where others could be exposed.
“I cannot understand why anyone would take such an action. But this is a substance that is known to us and does not exist widely,” Tillerson told reporters as he flew from Nigeria to Washington. “It is only in the hands of a very, very limited number of parties.”
Fox News reported that a White House official told the network that Trump decided to make this move before he sits down with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The official noted that Trump “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.”
That’s odd because back in October Trump told Tillerson to stop “wasting his time” as the secretary tried “to negotiate with North Korea to end its nuclear and missile programs.”
Trump chose CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo. She will become the first female to head the spy agency. Trump told The Washington Post:
“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.”
The president continued, “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 words of praise for 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.”
WaPo published these statements from Pompeo and Haspel:
“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 in a statement also said she was excited for 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.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) praised Trump’s nomination of Pompeo. From The Washington Free Beacon:
“Mike Pompeo is an outstanding selection as our next Secretary of State,” Cotton said. “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.”
Cotton also praised the selection of Gina Haspel, Pompeo’s deputy, to be the next CIA Director. Her nomination by Trump ends speculation that Cotton could be the next pick to lead the agency when Pompeo left.
“While it’s a loss for the CIA, Gina Haspel is also an excellent choice to become the new CIA Director,” Cotton said. “A true professional with decades of experience at the Agency, Gina has worked closely with Mike and the national-security team over the last year. I look forward to supporting them both during the confirmation process and working with them in the years to come.”
*MORE TO FOLLOW
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.
Next he should fire Rosenstein, that turd is not playing straight and has enabled Mueller’s witch hunt. Sessions might not be far behind either.
Not surprised at Tillerson being asked to leave, but moving Pompeo over is something I didn’t expect.
Yes, my first thoughts were: “Well, I guess we’re going to war!”
No more “Good Cop, Bad Cop” Now it is “Bad Cop and Really Bad Cop”.
Trump is opening up a can of whoopass on the world.
Mr. Tillerson has endured and suffered Trump and will leave with the dignity he brought to the office. Trump may declare that Tillerson was fired but, truth be known, Tillerson spared Trump the indignity of being left blowing in the wind.
“Trump may declare that Tillerson was fired but,…”
Excuse me, but I don’t see the word ‘fired’ anywhere in Trump’s announcement. In fact, this move seems remarkably coordinated among all parties involved.
(updated) Ah, there it is now. From Tillerson’s zone, it seems awkward to put ‘is unaware of the reason’ in the statement.
Dude, he doesn’t need a reason. You serve at the pleasure of the president. Thank the president for your opportunity to serve the country and move on.
The statement from the State Department is indicative of the problems there. They seem to think that they are in dependent of the White House.
WHAT are you smoking?
LOL. What an imagination you have. Quite the spin.
tillerson was a despicable backstabbing judas.
He actually deserves to be run out of town on a rail for his undermining of the President !
I’m guessing this revolves around North Korea. Every time Trump showed them a closed fist, the next day, Rex would weaken it. Maybe CIA Mike can help keep that diplomatic fist closed, especially with NK.
Good Cop, Bad Cop approach, perhaps? That’s what the SecState position has traditionally been for decades. President makes thunderous proclamation, SecState gently soothes ruffled feathers and acts as the voice of reason, if only there were some way to make him see the light, like if your country were to…
That is why they call them diplomats, after all.
NPR said (now bear with me, because it made sense for a change) that making the SecState/CIA director change now would keep the NK negotiations and China discussions stable, since swapping diplomats in the middle is never good. Of course, NPR did not expand on the new SecState or CIA director, but instead went back to their normal harping and carping on Tillerson and why he deserved to be thrown out of town etc…
I think Pompeo is going to do a good job. He’s always struck me as an up-and-coming person to watch ever since he showed up in Kansas politics. We’ll see.
My info says tillerson was ACTIVELY undermining the iIran deal situation- trying to get european action to keep the Iran deal and stop President trumps efforts to fix or CANCEL the “deal”
( so called – an actual SELLOUT by dinglebarry )
Well, this is interesting. I will watch before I make a judgement call.
With that attitude you have no future in journalism, for sure.
I need a ROTFL emoticon for this.
Well you just do what I tell you to do! Goddamn it! If I had a wartime consiglieri — a Sicilian — I wouldn’t be in this shape! Pop had Genco — look what I got.
(then, after exhaling)
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that. Ma made a little dinner — it’s Sunday…
REX (walking away)
You’re not a wartime Consiglieri, Rex. Things may get rough with the move we’re trying.
VITO CORLEONE (sitting next to Rex on the couch)
Rex — I advise Donald. I never thought you were a bad Consiglieri. I thought — Santino was a bad Don, rest in peace. Donald has all my confidence, as – as you do. But uh — there are reasons why you must have no part in what is going to happen.
REX (to Donald)
Maybe I could help…
You’re out, Rex.
After the policy wonks and congress critters failed to deliver on Obamacare repeal, DACA overhaul, etc it may be that Trump taking a tighter grip on the reins. State is a swamp for nay president, more so for republicans. Rex seemed to lack the fire and brimstone needed to shake things up. If, as I suspect, Trump is growing into the job and taking more control, one has to wonder how much longer Sessions will last.
I liked Tillerson but I think he was at odds with Trump from the get go. I do think it was NK as the final straw. I feel somewhat unnerved by this decision. Trump can get manic and that maybe a good thing in the business world but he has more than a few times been his own worst enemy with his mouth. I dislike McCain incredibly, but his remarks about him has caused significant damage and can’t be undone, those kind md of things.
I don’t expect much with his meeting with NK, somtheres that.
I think there were 2 bones of contention between Trump and Tillerson: The Iran Deal and obamanites buried deep inside the state dept.
Tillerson appeared to be h3ll bent on preserving both.
I should think that as head of the CIA, Pompeo knows where all the skeletons are buried. I suspect the swamp is going to be draining out at the State Department at a more rapid pace now.
Leslie, I thought the CIA ‘was’ the swamp – a major component of the DC shadow govt. What with all the State employees having strong allegiance to the principles Obama espoused, it seems almost like President Trump decided to fill the ‘swamp’ with concrete so he could walk on it.
Duh Donald is a no-class bum. You don’t treat people like this.
This makes filling posts with really good people not just hard, but impossible. Nobody worth having wants to work for this jerk.
When it comes to acting like a no-class bum and mistreating people, I think we all have to defer to your greater experience on the matter.
And well you may, T-rump sucker. I don’t treat people like this thug does. People who have worked for me are built up in every way possible. Some have disappointed my, but even those are not treated like dross.
Given how you treat people on this board, that seems unlikely.
You are not someone who knows, works for, or around me. And I never gave you or anyone here any grief until you’d started in on me.
I don’t treat my employees with anything but respect. To do otherwise would make me like Duh Donald.
“And I never gave you or anyone here any grief until you’d started in on me.”
That’s an outright lie. One of many.
Rags lol you are the most disrespectful person on this blog
Piglet, you are a very good representative of your cult leader. You simply cannot do anything but attack anyone who commits heresy against your cult.
you’re just like Hillary. Because she’s a narcissist, she can’t accept that she lost because of her own faults. She blames the people who exposed her faults.
Because you’re a narcissist, you can’t accept that your constant bullying of Trump supporters and inability to offer logical explanations for your positions is the cause of your low ratings. You blame me. The faults, however, are all yours. Fix them and the problem goes away.
Trump is president and can set his own foreign policy agenda. Tillerson spoke out against the policy, publicly, without regard to his boss’s clear position, and more than once. He overstepped. He got fired. Whether Tillerson is right or wrong in his view is irrelevant. He is not in charge. Or was not.
It certainly was not WHAT was done, but HOW. T-rump is a classless bully.
Oh boohoo. Trump ain’t nice enough to suit a trash mouth butthole like you. The shame.
You just don’t appreciate Rag’s brilliance (along with the rest of us).
The only way you’ll find any brilliance in rags is if he paints his body silver and stands in the sunshine.
One report is that Tillerson was going rogue in his negotiations and actions. Unconfirmed, but are you open to the possibility that Rex could have done things to elicit this response?
As a boss, if an underling sincerely calls me a moron inappropriately and makes its rounds in the press (unconfirmed if he did, not so with the press reports), I will not accord them the same respect. Nor do they deserve it.
On a policy point, Tillerson very wrongly lobbied against the Jerusalem embassy move. He was not in line with bi-partisan US and Trump policy, undermined him on this point, and gave material inaccurate feedback as to the consequences. I believe Rex did this repeatey – gave such poor feedback and advice that it can be seen as undermining a policy position without good reason e.g. when someone is so easily influenced to counter based not on good faith opposition – my boss is doing the wrong thing I must save him, but you are simply repeating your bosses’ opponents point-of-view with no thought – then you ar earn no respect and have become a useful idiot of your enemies at best. Disloyal at worst. Potentially not worthy of respect.
I thought Rex was a brilliant pic. I thought an outsider could do a better job that the traditional (still do). Based on performance, I think Rex has shown himself to be a brilliant business person but a moron as Sec of State (the Jerusalem perfectly encapsulates that)
His thinking on that issue was so superficial, so set by the conventional wisdom that it begs the question was he thinking at all.
I don’t agree necessarily with the way Trump handles some of his actions – I have generally felt best to fire people but try to remain on good terms (without conceding anything) simply to avoid the ill will, there are times in business it makes sense to let someone go in a visible way to send a message, even if it means making a bigger enemy of someone. I have done so.
I don’t know the facts here, but I don’t think your point is fully thought through Rags.
But I am giving your the courtesy of a thoughtful response why it may not be all you make it out to be here – and perhaps also to see why one diehard Cruz supporter has overcome my own objections to Trump to be a reasonable supporter – by focusing on the facts and actions that matter, and avoiding a lot of the cognitive disinformation and fake outrage that seems to surround the very action of Trump that makes it hard to sort things out.
Look at the way Tillerson handled Jerusalem embassy – an easy layup of a decision in my book – and you begin to see what was potentially not successful about this guy. Dig a littl deeper – beyond the chattering class hot takes – and maybe it’s not as black-and-white as you think.
Cabinet positions, properly handled, require a great deal of energy and stamina. I fully expect this particular President to burn through a lot of them.
Meanwhile, I suspect that the President has let Mr. Tillerson go, with thanks, because he had accomplished the bulk of his highest priority tasks, and so it was time to shift focus and bring in someone else for the next phase.
This article from the Chicago Tribune, stripped of its spin, suggests that a significant portion of Tillerson’s assignment was accomplished already.
“…State Department employees weren’t happy with him because he imposed a hiring freeze, proposed budget cuts and showed no appreciation for the work they do.
Sixty percent of top-ranking career diplomats have retired since he arrived. …”
State has been a mess since at least the GW Bush administration, when it abdicated its responsibilities in Iraq to the US military. Subsequently it was abused as the personal piggy-bank of Kerry, Obama and Mrs. Clinton. Finally, it showed signs of being stuffed with political ideologues in positions additional to the political appointees, who were unwilling to accept a change in administration.
It looks to me like Mr. Tillerson was hired for a purpose, accomplished it, and was replace with a person having a different primary purpose. This happens frequently in the business world, particularly when one company is acquired by another.
“Sixty percent of top-ranking career diplomats have retired since he arrived. …”
Given that top ranking diplomats would necessarily be the ones closest to retirement, we can only wonder if 60% is more or less than the typical number of retirements following a change in administrations. However, we can HOPE that it indicates swamp cleaning.
There has been friction between Trump and Tillerson since Tillerson was appointed. Tillerson has taken public positions on foreign affairs which were at odds with Trump. It is very likely that Tillerson advised even more opposing positions in private.
The President of the United states is charged with establishing the foreign policy of the US. The position of the Secretary of State is to support and advance those policies. The Sec State does not MAKE foreign policy. And, Tillerson, predictably, has been attempting to do just that.
What is intriguing about this is that the media has never shown such interest in the personnel changes of other Presidents. It is a symptom of the media’s belief that Trump is a danger to this country and must be reigned in by Establishment figures for the countries good. Tillerson was such an Establishment figure. So is Sessions. Der Donald hs no problem with Establishment figures in positions of power in his administration, as long as they support him. Much like every other President in history.
In all fairness to Tillerson, how does one avoid making statements that are at odds with Trump? Keep ones mouth shut 24×7? Trump is all over the map and constantly making statements that contradict what he said previously.
You consult with him?
I agree but disagree. The most quirky disagreement was when Trump tweeted Tillerson shouldn’t waste his time negotiating with NK. However, I believe that was simply Trump keeping NK off balance. Trump believes in keeping opponents off balance.
Anyway, clearly, State did continue to negotiate sanctions all over the world, and re: NK in the olympics, so Trump did not mean that at all. Not at all.
Trump tactics may be unconventional, but he’s not actually in favor of nuclear war.
I don’t think Trump is that clever. I think he just says stuff to keep himself the center of attention.
I have to wonder if his leaving wasn’t a mutual decision. What was Tillerson earning as CEO of Exxon? $25 million per year or so? And the hassles were probably a lot less.
calling the boss a “moron” is always detrimental to continued employment…
Trump has gone through secretaries and cabinet members faster than anyone I can think of. As much as I liked Sen. Sessions, AG Sessions needs to be the next one to go. I like the thorn in the side of the GOP that Ted Cruz is, but I think he would be great as AG.
The only problem with this is how will Trump get someone in who will truly do their job as the AG of America when there are so many Democrat Republicans in the Senate? These Democrat Republicans have shown no issue with voting against the best interests of America if they impact their own best interests (and wallets and control).
Exactly. Cruz does good work and him keeping his seat prevents someone like Flake, Collins or Murkowski from filling it.
Which is why I am reading the reports of Mike Lee for SCOTUS with trepidation.
Tillerson was the right man for the task of the Middle East which is an oil oligarchy and he did good work there. He was known to the players and with his oil background accomplished more than any other SoS. BUT, he is/was not a very aggressive man nor had he any need to be in his prior life. Working in a corporate environment he plodded his way through the red tape and succeeded. NoKo and Iran are two totally different animals and Trump’s approach is one of “My button is bigger than yours” and Tillerson was not on board with that approach. Trump has read these bullies like a cereal box label and he needed the SoS to be right behind him. Tillerson was not that man. Pompeo is that man and combined with his knowledge he will be a real asset in this battle to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
Re: Inspector Rudy:
Bingo! You hit the right buttons!!!
Tillerson was top dog for so long at Exxon that he could never ever defer to Trump as his new Alpha leader. These CEOs are like gods in their domains. After that, you could never really get used to playing second fiddle. To proclaim “I didn’t know why he fired me” on the way out is an indicator of Rex’s petulant cluelessness and fundamental unwillingness to subordinate himself and whatever his personal agenda was to that of the President.
Question: Did Rex Tillerson say, ““ I didn’t know why he fired me” or did the State Dept. say that he said it?
I know, I know, I should look it up myself…
For anyone else who was wondering about this, Goldstein was fired by the White House.
I can’t help wonder if the security clearances had anything to do with it given that this is also in the news today: “It wasn’t clear exactly why Mr. McEntee was fired Monday. He indicated to colleagues that it was an issue in his background.”(WSJ)
The first question that came to my mind about McEntee was, so what’s in your background?
If so, Tillerson would be smart to just say, “I don’t know.” Then the press can have a field day over how awful Trump is and leave him alone.
Kelly just forced the issue of the temporary security clearances.
This statement just makes me wonder even more if the security clearances brought up some financial conflicts of interest that Tillerson may have had with Iran that he did not fully disclose….or something like that.
“President Trump: Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time. We got along quite well but we disagreed on things. When you look at the Iran deal. I think it’s terrible. I guess he thought it was OK. I wanted to either break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently. actually got along well with Rex. Really it was a different mindset. It was a different thinking.”
I find the appointment of Gina Haspel to be intriguing. First woman director, lifetime CIA professional but who could not get a permanent deputy director appointment because of her leadership of the rendition, detention, and interrogation (from wikipedia, sorry) program.
She sounds like a very tough cookie!
Hey, Mrs. Clinton, do you think Gina Haspel’s husband told her how to vote in the last election?
I find the appointment of Gina Haspel
to head the CIA. Sorry, I am not a professional commenter. I just pay one on the intertubes.
Haspel is an interesting choice for DCI. She has a lot of negative baggage coming in, largely due to her rendition and interrogation activities. The libs, in both parties, are not going to like that. On the other hand, she is a Clandestine Services dinosaur, who is, again apparently, not squeamish about putting on the brass knuckles to deal with threats to the country. She might be just what the CIA, and the country, needs in a world where Russia, Iran, North Korea and China are becoming increasingly belligerent.
I think I’ll wait and see how she does, before I make any decisions about her being named DCI.
I’m not sure of the wisdom of moving Pompeo, which means having two sets of confirmation hearings and debates, each of which the Dems will extend as long as possible.
Also, this Haspel woman is career CIA, which almost by definition means a Democrat. So has the CIA managed to see off yet another Republican attempt to bring it to order?
My reading suggests “this Haspel woman” is a tough cookie. One determined to defeat our enemies.
Dems can be determined too. Hillary Clinton is very determined. And she’d have no compunction at torturing terrorists. Remember her giggling over Gadaffi’s death. So I take little comfort from that.
The CIA has from its founding been a bastion of the Democratic Party, and hostile to every Republican administration it has ostensibly served. I know lefties have some weird fantasy that the Bush family has some kind of “in” with the Agency just because GHWB was director for about five minutes, but it clearly ain’t so. It’s one of the deepest swamps (oops, I mean wetlands) in DC and desperately needs to be drained, but it fights back. It got rid of Porter Goss. I’m worried that it’s got rid of Pompeo and is now once again going to be in charge of itself and pursuing its own agenda independent of the President’s.
I share your concern. OTOH, there is no evidence that Haspel is anything other than dedicated to defeating our enemies.
I’m guessing that Pompeo recommended her to Trump.
I prefer a man at CIA. All things being equal, men are tougher. I’ve read she oversaw interrogations, erased the tapes, etc., but I have more confidence in a man.
Personally, I have a problem with blood, guts and gore.
CTF, 58 year-old female.
If I were Tillerson I’d relax in my favorite chair, smoke a good cigar, drink a little Kentucky Windage … and think to myself … “good f***in riddance”.
For a man who had been at the top of the corporate food chain, making millions of dollars each year….you just may be right. The question for liberals, who should be despising every bone in his body, is why do they suddenly embrace him. Hmmmm….don’t have to think too hard.
I took his speech about being honored to serve seriously. I think he realizes he was able to make a positive mark and is smart enough to realize what an honor that was. Good for him. His departure was a class act.
Hope he enjoys the Kentucky. Wish I could afford what he can.
Tillerson Fired Over Rogue Bid to Save Iran Nuke Deal
The abrupt firing Tuesday of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson follows months of infighting between the State Department and White House over efforts by Tillerson to save the Iran nuclear deal and ignore President Donald Trump’s demands that the agreement be fixed or completely scrapped by the United States, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.
In the weeks leading up to Tillerson’s departure, he had been spearheading efforts to convince European allies to agree to a range of fixes to the nuclear deal that would address Iran’s ongoing ballistic missile program and continued nuclear research.
While Trump had prescribed a range of fixes that he viewed as tightening the deal’s flaws, Tillerson recently caved to European pressure to walk back these demands and appease Tehran while preserving the deal, according to these sources. The Free Beacon first disclosed this tension last week in a wide-ranging report.
White House allies warned Tillerson’s senior staff for weeks that efforts to save the nuclear deal and balk on Trump’s key demands regarding the deal could cost Tillerson his job, a warning that became reality Tuesday when Trump fired Tillerson by tweet.
This tension between the White House and Foggy Bottom came to a head in recent days, prompting Trump to fire Tillerson and bring in Pompeo, an official who Trump believes will pressure European allies to more seriously fix a range of flaws in the nuclear deal.
“Tillerson staked his position on saving the Iran deal by threading the needle. He promised the president he could strengthen it enough to be good, but not so much the Europeans would backlash or the Iranians would bolt,” said the source, who would only speak about the sensitive matter on background. “That was always going to be tricky, then it became impossible, then it became embarrassing. The Europeans weren’t giving us enough on missiles and were refusing to budge on sunsets. And so here we are.”
Sounds reasonable. You gotta do what the Boss wants or it’s quit or be fired.