U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had replaced U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo and had tapped Gina Haspel to lead the CIA.
“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!” Trump said on Twitter.
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
Speaking to reporters at the White House shortly before departing for Joint Base Andrews for his trip to California, Trump said that he made the decision to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “by myself.”
The president added that Tillerson will be “much happier now,” and he appreciates his service. Trump said he and Tillerson had been “talking about this for a long time,” and they had disagreed on issues like the Iran deal.
Trump also praised the energy and intellect of his incoming Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who has led the CIA.
Tillerson has long been dogged by reports that his time in office will be cut short. As recently as December, Trump had rejected speculation that Tillerson’s days were numbered, noting that the two “work well together.”
A White House official said Trump wanted to have a new team in place ahead of upcoming talks with North Korea and various trade talks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.
Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before Trump’s announcement. Trump offered no explanation for the change.