In a surprise announcement via twitter Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump fired Rex Tillerson from his post as U.S. Secretary of State, replacing him with Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo. Also in his announcement, President Trump named Gina Haspel as the next CIA director, who will replace Pompeo. If confirmed, Haspel will be the first woman 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
It is no secret that Trump and Tillerson disagreed on various issues in the past. Most famously, Tillerson allegedly referred to Trump as a “moron,” with Trump responding by claiming he was smarter than Tillerson.
Steve Goldstein, Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy, said in a statement that Tillerson “did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason” as to why he was fired. In the same statement, Goldstein also said Tillerson “had every intention of staying.”
Additionally, a White House official said the president wanted to have a new team in place prior to talks with North Korea. It was also reported that Tillerson was blindsided that Trump had agreed to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Just a day prior to this announcement, Tillerson told reporters that face-to-face talks were still a long way off.