14 March 2018Hot off the Press
US President Donald Trump fired his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday (local time) in a move that took many, including Mr Tillerson, by surprise.
Secretary Tillerson only found out that he had been sacked after seeing a tweet from the President announcing it, according to the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Steve Goldstein. Mr Goldstein has also been fired.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
Mr Tillerson said he will delegate his portfolio responsibilities to his second-in-command and leave office by the end of the month.
“What is most important is to ensure an orderly and smooth transition during a time that the country continues to face significant policy and national security challenges,” Mr Tillerson told reporters at a press conference.
He added, “I now return to private life, as a private citizen, as a proud American, proud of the opportunity I’ve had to serve my country.”
CIA Director Mike Pompeo will replace Mr Tillerson, and Mr Pompeo’s deputy Gina Haspel will take the top job at the CIA, making her the first female CIA Director in history.
Mr Tillerson will join the long list of senior officials who have either resigned or been fired by the President.
Others include Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, FBI Director James Comey, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Health Secretary Tom Price, Communications Directors Hope Hicks and Anthony Scaramucci, Economic Adviser Gary Cohn and Press Secretary Sean Spicer.