President Trump has announced the departure of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tillerson will be replaced by CIA director Mike Pompeo, according to The New York Times. Tillerson and Trump publicly clashed throughout the first year of Trump's presidency.
“We were not really thinking the same,” Mr. Trump told reporters, according to The New York Times. “Really, it was a different mind-set, a different thinking.”
Tillerson was informed of his firing this morning, shortly after arriving back in the United States from a week-long trip to Africa. According to The New York Times, White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, called Tillerson and asked him to return early to Washington, advising, "You may get a tweet."
Trump did not personally call Tillerson to inform him of his termination. Trump did, however, make an announcement on Twitter.
On Monday, the day before Tillerson's termination, a White House spokesperson criticized a reporter for indicating that there may have been a split between Trump and Tillerson.
Mike Pompeo will fill the vacancy left by Tillerson, with Gina Haspel assuming Pompeo's former role as deputy director of the CIA. Haspel has been linked to a series of controversies surrounding the usage of enhanced interrogation techniques (also known as torture), according to The New York Times.
The President clarified his decisions in an official statement.
“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 said via a written statement distributed by the White House. "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.”
Tillerson and Trump have butted heads in the past, most notably when reports of Tillerson describing Trump as "a moron" broke in October. More recently, reports indicated that Tillerson was shocked to hear about Trump's planned meetings with North Korea. Trump had also previously criticized Tillerson's negotiating skills on Twitter.
Trump and Tillerson's antagonism was public knowledge among international politicians.
“The relationship between top management and the bulk of the State Department was toxic,” said Ambassador James F. Jeffrey, a former senior diplomat and fellow at the Washington Institute, according to The New York Times. “And that was a total mystery because the people at the State Department would work for the devil if he is advancing American interests, which Mr. Tillerson was.”
Meanwhile, a controversial report released by the Intelligence Committee Republicans only a day before the firing has continued to amass criticism, according to The New York Times. In it, Republicans deemed that Trump absolutely did not collude with any Russians during the election. The declarations of the announcement directly contradicted the information found in the 13 indictments of Russian nationals announced by the head of the Special Counsel investigation, Robert Mueller, just last month.
Mike Pompeo now awaits confirmation from the Senate.
[Photo: Getty Images]