- President Donald Trump reportedly ousted his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.
- Tillerson had faced reports of tension between him and the president for months.
President Donald Trump has asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to leave his post, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. CIA Director Mike Pompeo will replace him. The CIA’s deputy director, Gina Haspel, will succeed Pompeo, becoming the first woman to lead the agency.
Trump reportedly asked Tillerson to step down on Friday and he confirmed the news in a tweet Tuesday. “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State,” the president tweeted. “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!”
Tillerson was on a diplomatic trip in Africa, which he cut short to return to Washington on Monday. AP reporter Josh Lederman tweeted that there was “zero indication” on the flight back to the US, which Lederman and other reporters accompanied Tillerson on, that the secretary’s firing was “imminent.”
The firing comes the day after Tillerson publicly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling the Kremlin “an irresponsible force of instability in the world” following an alleged nerve agent attack in Britain likely perpetrated by Russia. Tillerson had faced reports of tension with Trump for months, and repeatedly denied that he was leaving his job.
In his statement, Pompeo thanked Trump for the opportunity to serve as CIA director. “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.”