President Donald Trump asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to step aside, the White House confirmed Tuesday, replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
In a tweet, Trump thanked Tillerson for his service and said Pompeo “will do a fantastic job.”
The ouster ends months of discord between Trump and Tillerson, who often seemed out of the loop or in disagreement with the president on major foreign policy decisions.
Pompeo, who will be nominated to succeed Tillerson, may face a though confirmation process in the Senate.
Tillerson spent the past week on a lengthy trip through Africa, landing very early Tuesday morning in Washington after cutting his trip short by one day.
His Africa trip highlighted even more daylight between Tillerson and his boss, most recently on North Korea, as well as the poisoning of a Russian spy last week.
While the White House on Monday refused to sign on the British assessments that Russia was responsible for the attempted poisoning of an ex-spay in the U.K., Tillerson told press aboard his government aircraft that the “really egregious act” appears to have “clearly” come from Russia.
The coming meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un also played a role, a senior administration official told NBC News, saying that Trump “wanted to make sure to have his new team in place in advance of the upcoming talks with North Korea and various ongoing trade negotiations.”
Just one day before Trump agreed to meetings with Pyongyang last week, Tillerson — during a trip in Africa — said the two countries were still “a long way” from direct negotiations with the regime about their nuclear program.
Via: NBC News