Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Trump sacks Tillerson, names CIA's Pompeo as Secretary of State

Trump sacks Tillerson, names CIA's Pompeo as Secretary of State

Tillerson will pass authority at midnight to Deputy Secretary John Sullivan, remaining at the department for handover purposes until March 31.

Speaking from the agency's briefing room Tuesday, Tillerson said his priority is to ensure a smooth transition. Tillerson will be "much happier now", Trump said. They elected Trump. With Tillerson gone and Pompeo at State, McMaster will now have an ally at State who shares his belief that for Trump's warnings to North Korea to be credible, he must have well-developed and credible military options on the table.

Mr Trump has also nominated Gina Haspel to replace Mr Pompeo and become the first woman director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Word of Trump's dissatisfaction with Tillerson and plans to replace him with Pompeo had circulated for months, even as Tillerson insisted he didn't plan to leave and that he knew of no plans for his ouster.

Trump sees three defects in the deal: its failure to address Iran's ballistic missile programme; the terms under which global inspectors can visit suspect Iranian nuclear sites; and "sunset" clauses under which limits on the Iranian nuclear programme start to expire after 10 years. "I wanted to break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently".

CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been tapped to replace Tillerson.

However, Trump emphatically rejected talk of chaos in his year-old administration as he nears a pivotal moment on the worldwide stage with his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"I wish Rex a lot of good things", the president added.

Tillerson held a press conference Tuesday afternoon and revealed that he received a call from President Trump several hours after learning he was sacked on Twitter.

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Hours later, Mr Goldstein was himself fired.

Many Democrats in Congress expressed dismay at the firing, which they said would sow more instability in the Trump administration at a crucial time.

But the United States faces a host of foreign policy challenges: curbing the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea; fighting terrorism in the Mideast, Africa and Afghanistan; maintaining unity in Europe; dealing with the physical and economic impacts of climate change; and limiting the global fallout from Trumps trade wars.

"We can't put the North Korea issue on the back burner".

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said Tuesday that the ousting of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should be no surprise and that ongoing tensions between Tillerson and the president was an "untenable situation". Just the day before, a White House spokesman berated a reporter for suggesting there was any kind of split between Tillerson and the White House because of disparate comments on Russian responsibility for a poison attack in Britain.

On Monday, Tillerson blamed Russia for the poisonings in England of a former Russian double agent and his daughter.

Before leaving on a trip to California, Trump spoke openly of their differences - singling out the Iran nuclear deal - as he explained the rationale for the latest departure from his chaotic White House. According to this view, Kim must see that the Trump administration is willing to maintain an agreement that has substantially rewarded Iran for its temporary nuclear restraint.

But his efforts were often overshadowed by Trump's decidedly un-diplomatic style and streams of taunting tweets that have stirred worldwide tensions.

In December, Tillerson had offered to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, backing away from a USA demand that Pyongyang must accept that any negotiations would be about giving up its nuclear arsenal.

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