President Donald Trump reportedly ousted Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and plans to replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo:
BREAKING: Trump ousts Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, will replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo https://t.co/akCUb2ExE2
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 13, 2018
On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted his support for Pompeo and thanked Tillerson for his service:
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
“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job!” Trump tweeted.
In another statement, Trump said Pompeo’s “experience in the military, Congress, and as leader of the CIA have prepared him well for his new role and I urge his swift confirmation.”
“I have gotten to know Mike very well over the past 14 months, and I am confident he is the right person for the job at this critical juncture,” Trump also said. “He will continue our program of restoring America’s standing in the world, strengthening our alliances, confronting our adversaries, and seeking the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — Tillerson aide: Trump never explained to Tillerson reason he was fired, and Tillerson had wanted to stay in job.
— Julie Pace (@jpaceDC) March 13, 2018
The State Department reportedly confirmed that Tillerson found out about Trump’s decision from his tweet Tuesday morning:
— Javi Morgado (@javimorgado) March 13, 2018
While speaking to reporters outside of the White House on Tuesday, Trump said that Tillerson was a “good man” and that the two got along “quite well.” They disagreed, however, on certain issues like the Iran nuclear deal.
Trump also announced that he would replace Pompeo with Gina Haspel, whom Trump said was the first female a president chose for that position.
In a statement, Pompeo expressed his gratitude toward Trump:
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. 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.
While details of Tillerson’s departure are still unclear, previous reports indicated that he and the president had a contentious relationship.
During the summer of 2017, speculation swirled around whether Tillerson would resign. And in July, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert announced he took “private” days off from his post.
One report claimed that Tillerson threatened to resign in June of last year and called Trump a “moron.” While Tillerson appeared reluctant to deny using that term, Nauert specifically said he “did not use that type of language to speak about the president of the United States.”
Trump also reportedly took issue with Tillerson’s attempt to persuade him on foreign policy.
After that report, Trump suggested he had a higher IQ than Tillerson.
“I think it’s fake news,” Trump said of Tillerson’s alleged comment, “but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”
Tillerson became the latest in a series of Trump administration officials to leave since he took office.
Watch Trump comment on Tillerson’s departure above, via Fox News.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.
Correction [3/13/18, 10:35 a.m. ET]: The original story claimed Tillerson denied calling Trump a moron. It should have attributed that claim to State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.