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President Trump Fires Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Naming CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Replacement


President Donald Trump has decided to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, naming CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his replacement.

In a Twitter post, the president thanked Rex Tillerson for his service, saying the new state secretary would do “a fantastic job”.

Rex Tillerson, a former chief executive of ExxonMobil, was only appointed to the job just over a year ago.

President Trump also nominated Gina Haspel to become the first woman director of the CIA.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House on March 13, President Trump said his differences with Rex Tillerson came down to personal “chemistry”.

He said: “We got along actually quite well, but we disagreed on things.

“When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible. I guess he thought it was OK.

“I wanted to either break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently, so we were not really thinking the same.

“With Mike, Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process. I think it’s going to go very well.

“Rex is a very good man, I like Rex a lot.”

Image source Wikimedia

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Rex Tillerson is the latest in a long list of senior officials who have either resigned or been fired since Donald Trump took office.

The Department of State said Rex Tillerson had not spoken to the president and was “unaware of the reason” for his firing.

Rex Tillerson was on an official tour of Africa last week when he was apparently caught unawares by President Trump’s announcement that he would hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

His team said he was feeling unwell on March 10 and later in the weekend the state department said he would cut short his tour by a day.

Rex Tillerson, 65, arrived back in Washington before dawn on March 13 to learn he was out of a job a few hours later.

According to a senior White House official, President Trump asked for Rex Tillerson’s resignation on March 9, but wanted to wait until he came home to make it public.

Mike Pompeo is a former hard-line conservative Republican lawmaker from Kansas and a Trump loyalist.

In 2014, he defended the CIA officers who waterboarded detainees as “patriots”.

Both the new secretary of state and CIA director will have to be confirmed by the Senate.

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