Tillerson Got a Warning: 'You May Get a Tweet'

Fired secretary of state says he'll return to private life as 'proud American'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2018 1:11 PM CDT
Updated Mar 13, 2018 2:01 PM CDT

(Newser) – Right on the heels of the news that Rex Tillerson was out as secretary of state came the news that Tillerson didn't know he was out as secretary of state and only learned that CIA Director Mike Pompeo was replacing him when the rest of the world did. Tillerson was on a flight back to DC from Africa that landed at 4am Tuesday, and the Washington Post reports Tillerson's rep, Steve Goldstein, had this to say a few hours later: "The secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security and other areas. The secretary did not speak to the president, and is unaware of the reason." He may have had an inkling, however. The New York Times reports that chief of staff John Kelly called Tillerson Friday to suggest he cut his trip to Africa short and added cryptically, "You may get a tweet."

  • Tillerson speaks: At an afternoon news conference, Tillerson said he received a call from Trump about noon Tuesday, roughly three hours after the president tweeted about his firing, per the Times. Tillerson said he would turn over all his responsibilities to deputy John Sullivan by the end of the day, though he would formally remain in his post until March 31. He added that he would return to private life as a "proud American."
  • A troublesome team: In explaining what went wrong, Jonathan Swan writes for Axios that Trump and Tillerson got off on the wrong foot, and that the friction didn't stop there. Tillerson's chief of staff, Margaret Peterlin, "managed to make more enemies across the administration than perhaps any senior official, and Goldstein was outwardly disdainful of Trump.

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