Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

State Dept. & White House Oust More Top Officials Amid Shake-up

State Dept. & White House Oust More Top Officials Amid Shake-up

The most important qualification for any secretary of state is the trust of the president.

Mr Trump publicly undercut Mr Tillerson's diplomatic initiatives numerous times, including on Monday when the former secretary of state's comments about Russian Federation appeared to be at odds with those of the White House.

Tillerson was caught flat-footed last week when Trump abruptly accepted an invitation for face-to-face talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Mr Tillerson, who Mr Turnbull congratulated for his work as a partner to Australia, was sacked overnight by President Donald Trump.

But Trump also reportedly wasn't shy about expressing his irritation with Tillerson in private, in the West Wing, either. Only Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin publicly defended him.

Tillerson had been widely criticized for an aloof management style, which had alienated droves of career diplomats and driven numerous agency's senior brass into early retirements. The current lack of morale at the State Department is unprecedented as the White House continues attempts to slash its budget, prevent the appointment of key staff, and undermine its traditional role of running the US' foreign policy. Pompeo will most likely ally with Vice President Mike Pence and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikky Haley who congratulated him on Twitter, calling him "a friend". U.S. sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh "waivers" to suspend them on May 12.

He lopped off the heads of its top management the minute he reached Foggy Bottom, decimating the largely apolitical ranks of deep thinkers and solid administrators who make up the backbone of the State Department.

But, at the State Department at least, it seems hard to blame the Senate for holding up appointments.

"I don't think we need more fire and fury in the secretary of state's office", Kaine said.

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"The American people now deserve the same assurances from Gina Haspel, whose career with the agency has intersected with the program of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" on a number of occasions".

If he is confirmed by Congress, Mr. Pompeo's internal credibility, bureaucratic savvy and congressional ties could make him more effective than his predecessor. In August 2017, Tillerson said "the president speaks for himself" when Trump initially defended the white supremacist march in Charlottesville.

THE QUOTE: "Over and above the reflection of chaos within the USA administration, the removal of another balancing voice in the White House shortly after ex-economic adviser Gary Cohn's departure certainly induced jitters within the market", said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

"President Trump is determined to prevent that from happening in North Korea", Pompeo told CBS.

The surprise announcement came less than a week after the US president accepted an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to talks about the regime's denuclearization.

The State Department is also working with European countries to negotiate adjustments to the Iran deal, without which Trump has promised to scuttle the agreement in May.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's sacking shows that Washington is set on quitting the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, Iran's deputy foreign minister said Wednesday.

The lead diplomat for East Asia and the Pacific, acting Assistant Secretary Susan Thornton, is awaiting a date for a Senate vote to confirm that she can keep the job permanently.

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