Another White House staffing bombshell: Rex Tillerson, who has had a rocky public relationship with President Trump, is out as secretary of state, reports the Washington Post. Trump is replacing him with CIA chief Mike Pompeo, a move the president himself confirmed on Twitter: Pompeo "will do a fantastic job!" the president wrote. "Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!" The shuffle will result in Gina Haspel replacing Pompeo at the CIA—pending Senate confirmation—making her the agency's first female leader. Tillerson, for his part, increasingly seemed out of sync with the White House, and this move was apparently no different. CBS News reports he had not spoken with Trump and found out with the public. "The Secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security," said a department statement, which added that "he will miss his colleagues" at State and fellow foreign ministers.
Two recent examples of the Trump-Tillerson distance, per USA Today: On Monday, Tillerson blamed Russia for a London assassination, something the White House had stopped short of doing. Tillerson also seemed caught off guard by Trump's announcement of a summit with Kim Jong Un of North Korea.The Post cites statements from both Trump and Pompeo on the news:
- Trump: "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."
- Pompeo: "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,” he said. "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."
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