US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Speaks After Being Fired by Trump

14 March, 2018, 05:53 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning said he was replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with former CIA director Mike Pompeo

But the United States faces a host of foreign policy challenges: curbing the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea; fighting terrorism in the Mideast, Africa and Afghanistan; maintaining unity in Europe; dealing with the physical and economic impacts of climate change; and limiting the global fallout from Trumps trade wars. The fact that Tillerson could not seem to grasp this or get on the same page as his commander in chief made his continued leadership of the State Department untenable.

"I'll now return to private life as a private citizen, as a proud American, proud of the opportunity I've had to serve my country", he said.

The former Exxon Mobil chief executives refusal to acknowledge the State Departments unique role in shaping Americas relations overseas also left him with few supporters in the federal government and among Americas allies. Tillerson will remain secretary in name until March 31, when he formally resigns his commission.

Mr Tillerson was sworn in as Secretary of State in February 2017.

However, based on the response from the U.S. Department of State shortly after 9 a.m. EDT on Tuesday as well as tweets by White House pool reporters in touch with Tillerson, Trump's decision appears to have stunned Tillerson himself. Hours later, he was sacked, too.

The above statement contradicted that of the president, who specifically told reporters that Tillerson was aware of the situation. "He established and enjoyed relationships with his counterparts", Goldstein said.

Some said Washington may take a harder line under Pompeo and the Europeans may be under more pressure to offer concessions, while others suggested his views on the deal have evolved and he may be better placed to influence Trump to keep it.

Trump said Pompeo "has earned the praise of members in both parties by strengthening our intelligence gathering, modernising our defensive and offensive capabilities, and building close ties with our friends and allies in the global intelligence community".

All of the officials demanded anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly.

According to the BBC, President Trump gave a statement outside of the White House shortly after the announcement, saying: "Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time".

The White House denied Tillerson's dismissal had anything to do with Russian Federation, instead saying it wanted to have new leadership in place before Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, expected this spring. Pressuring North Korea with sanctions and other isolation measures had been a top Tillerson priority, and he had been one of the administration's more vocal advocates for holding talks in some form with the North.

The president thanked Tillerson and announced his replacement on Twitter.

Word of Trump's dissatisfaction with Tillerson and plans to replace him with Pompeo had circulated for months, even as Tillerson insisted he didn't plan to leave and that he knew of no plans for his ouster. Goldstein's swift firing after refuting the Trump administration's rhetoric further reinforces the erratic nature of the White House under Trump's tenure and stands as a cause for concern moving forward.

The tensions peaked last fall amid reports Tillerson had called Trump a "moron" and considered resigning.

Mike Pompeo will fill the vacancy left by Tillerson, with Gina Haspel assuming Pompeo's former role as deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas, has been one of Trump's most loyal Cabinet members and quickly formed a close bond with the president, coming personally to the White House most days to deliver the President's Daily Briefing.

It was in truth a relationship that was never going to last.

"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", Trump added, calling him "the right person for the job at this critical juncture".


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