Rex Tillerson is out as secretary of State, ending a tumultuous tenure as America’s top diplomat that was marked by a series of public disagreements with his boss — President Donald Trump.
Trump plans to appoint CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace the former Exxon Mobil chief executive. The president picked deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to run the spy agency.
The Washington Post first reported the news, which the president quickly confirmed in a tweet. Trump thanked Tillerson for his service and said Pompeo will do a “fantastic job.”
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!
Since Tillerson took the post in February 2017, mixed messages repeatedly came out of the White House and a State Department with diminishing relevance. The intramural clashes between the president and secretary of State came amid major international crises, including a potential nuclear showdown with North Korea.
Tensions between the president and his top diplomat hit one high when Tillerson, 65, publicly distanced himself from the president’s defiant response to violence at the white supremacist rally in harlottesville, Virginia, this summer.
But there were numerous other clashes.
The policy rift emerged most sharply when Trump tweeted in October that Tillerson is “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with North Korea to end its nuclear and missile programs.
The president wrote: “Save your energy, Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!”
In October, NBC News reported that Tillerson already came close to resigning this summer but was urged to stay in the job until the end of the year. He referred to Trump as a “moron” in July following a meeting with the president’s national security team, according to NBC, which cited multiple high-level administration sources.