US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had replaced his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo.
Posting on Twitter, he also revealed he had tapped Gina Haspel 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!” Trump said on Twitter.
Why did Donald Trump SACK Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State?
The resignation represents the biggest shakeup of the Trump Cabinet so far.
Tillerson was in office for a little over a year – one of the shortest tenures in modern history.
“Tillerson would be at or near the bottom of the list of secretaries of state, not just in the post-Second World War world but in the record of US secretaries of state,” says Paul Musgrave, a scholar of US foreign policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst told Vox.
Even a skilled politician may have struggled to work with or against a president such as Donald Trump, but experts say the man is also largely to blame for his own downfall.
“I think he really will go down as one of the worst secretaries of State we’ve had,” Eliot Cohen, counselor to the State Department under President George W. Bush, told Axios’s Jonathan Swan.
Rex Tillerson fired: Trump announced the move on Twitter
Rex Tillerson fired: Tillerson once called Trump a moron
Ilan Goldenberg, an Obama-era State Department official, tweeted: “He will go down as the worst Secretary of State in history.”
It remains unclear what prompted the ousting of Mr Tillerson, who was one of the most senior members of the Trump administration and had served the President since he was inaugurated last January.
Mr Tillerson, a former chief executive of oil and gas giant ExxonMobil, joins a growing number of senior White House officials who have left their posts in recent months.
Last week Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, announced plans to resign – shortly before the President signed off on the highly controversial trade tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Mr Tillerson and the President had a series of high-profile disputes – most notably when the former Secretary of State reportedly called Trump a “f***ing moron” after the President called for a tenfold expansion of the US nuclear arsenal.
Rex Tillerson fired: Mike Pompeo will replace the secretary of state
Rex Tillerson fired: Mike Pompeo will be Tillerson’s replacement
Was Russia or North Korea to blame for Rex Tillerson being fired?
The sacking has been expected since last October when reports surfaced about a falling out between Trump and Tillerson, 65, who left his position as chief executive of Exxon Mobil to join the administration.
President Trump publicly undercut Tillerson’s diplomatic initiatives numerous times, including most recently on Monday when the former secretary of state’s comments about Russia appeared to be at odds with those of the White House.
The White House condemned the “reckless and indiscriminate” attack on a former Russian double agent in Salisbury, however, they have refused to outright blame Russia for the attack.
But US Secretary Rex Tillerson said the nerve agent attack “clearly came from Russia” and will “certainly trigger a response.”
Mr Tillerson’s comments amount to the strongest US response as he told journalists travelling with him in Africa the Novichok agent was “only in the hands of a very, very limited number of parties.”
A senior White House official told Reuters that Tillerson’s departure was a result of the President’s plans to install a new team ahead of planned talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un later this year.
US officials don’t have direct confirmation yet that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet with President Donald Trump in May, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday.
But he added the White House said the meeting would be held as planned.
Mr Tillerson said the officials from the two countries have to enter direct consultations ahead of the expected meeting between Mr. Trump and Kim Jong Un.