Donald Trump sacks Rex Tillerson as US Secretary of State


Donald Trump has replaced Rex Tillerson as US Secretary of State.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, 54, will take up the role, the President announced in a tweet.

“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job!” he tweeted.

Mr Trump thanked Mr Tillerson for his time working for the White House.

He went on to reveal he had appointed Gina Haspel as Mr Pompeo’s successor, the first woman to take on the prestigious position.

“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!” Mr Trump tweeted.

Mr Trump told reporters he has “total confidence” in Mr Pompeo and that the two share “a similar thought process”.

“I respect his intellect, his process that we’ve all gone through together. We have a really good relationship, chemistry, whatever is is, why do people get along,” he added.

The President said that although he and Mr Tillerson “got along”, they had disagreements.

“Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time,” Mr Trump said.

“We got actually along quite well but we disagreed on things,” he added, saying he thinks the Iran deal is “terrible” whereas Mr Tillerson “felt a little bit differently”.

Mr Pompeo has been nominated as Secretary of State

Mr Tillerson, a former chief executive of ExxonMobil, was appointed to the job just over a year ago. In October he was forced to deny he was considering quitting over tensions between him and the President.

The outgoing US Secretary of State did not speak to Mr Trump before he was was sacked and has not been given a reason for his ouster, a top aide said.

“The secretary did not speak to the president this morning and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling and not to be regretted,” Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said.

In a statement announcing Mr Pompeo’s appointment, Mr Trump said: “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.”

“He will continue our program of restoring America’s standing in the world, strengthening our alliances, confronting our adversaries, and seeking the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” he added.

Mr Pompeo issued a statement saying he was “looking forward” to representing the President.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump told reporters he shares a “similar thought process” as Mr Pompeo

“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,” he said.

While some insiders say Mr Pompeo tends to tell Mr Trump what he wants to hear, others say they have been impressed by his intellect, willingness to listen and advocacy of more robust covert operations.

In another departure from the White House, Mr Trump’s personal aide John McEntee, has left and will rejoin his the President’s campaign. He was one of a shrinking group of campaign aides still working in the turbulent West Wing.

The dollar was impacted by the announcement that Mr Trump was replacing his top diplomat Rex Tillerson ahead of announced talks with North Korea.

“The US dollar weakens further in the aftermath of the Tillerson announcement,” analyst Michael Hewson at CMC Markets tweeted.

Mr Trump also told reporters that he will be speaking with Theresa May over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

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