BREAKING: President Trump tweets that Rex Tillerson has been fired, confirms CIA Director Mike Pompeo will become the Secretary of State. pic.twitter.com/8RwL0lEiW7
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 13, 2018
President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, officials told the Washington Post.
The stunning shake-up of the State Department’s leadership comes amid a divergence in the public statements coming from Tillerson and the White House, on delicate foreign policy predicaments ranging from North Korea talks to Russian chemical attacks in the U.K.
Trump confirmed the move on Twitter Tuesday morning:
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
Per the Post, “Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, and the embattled top diplomat cut short his trip to Africa on Monday to return to Washington.”
Pompeo will replace Tillerson, and Gina Hapsel, Pompeo’s deputy at the CIA, will replace him as the first woman to run the spy agency, should she be confirmed.
In a statement provided to the Post, Trump thanked Tillerson for his service:
“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.”
The ousting comes the morning after Tillerson issued a strident statement condemning Russia for the poisoning of a former spy in the U.K. — contradicting the White House, which declined to explicitly blame the Kremlin for the attack.
The president has never seen eye to eye with his now former secretary of state. Tillerson once reportedly called Trump a “fucking moron,” which he never actually denied.
CNN’s Abby Phillips reported in the aftermath of the Tillerson news that the secretary of state was told of his ouster while he was traveling around Africa, as Trump wanted new leadership at the State Department ahead of planned talks with North Korea.
Watch MSNBC’s Morning Joe react to the breaking news above.