Rex Tillerson out as Secretary of State, to be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo


President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson was out as secretary of state and said he plans to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to fill the position amid reports of ongoing tension between Tillerson and Trump.

A State Department official said in a statement that Tillerson did not speak with the president before Trump’s tweet was posted around 8:45 a.m. Tillerson was “unaware of the reason” for his dismissal, according to the statement.

Trump said Pompeo will be replaced by Gina Haspel, who will become the first woman to lead the CIA.

The move came after months of tension between Tillerson and Trump and one day after Tillerson told reporters that Russia was behind a nerve agent attack in Britain on a former Russian spy -- despite the White House's refusal to point the finger at Moscow, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

Update Mar 13, 2018 10:37 PM EDT: Secretary of State nominee CIA Director Mike Pompeo is known for his more hawkish views on foreign policy. Pompeo is expected to take a hard-line approach to both North Korea and Iran.

Update Mar 13, 2018 5:31 PM EDT: An aide to Rex Tillerson, Steve Goldstein, was also fired by President Donald Trump Tuesday. Spokeswoman Heather Nauert was named acting undersecretary for public diplomacy, replacing Goldstein, according to media reports.

Update Mar 13, 2018 2:31 PM EDT: Tillerson said he spoke with Trump on Tuesday, but the president didn't contact him until after announcing his ouster on Twitter.

Update Mar 13, 2018 2:18 PM EDT: Tillerson said at a news conference Tuesday that he will officially leave his position at midnight on March 31.

He added that he will delegate his responsibilities to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan at the end of the workday Tuesday.

“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,” Tillerson said.

He appeared emotional as he spoke, marking his first public remarks since Trump wrote on Twitter that he planned to replace Tillerson with Pompeo.

Update Mar 13, 2018 2:00 PM EDT: Tillerson is expected to address the media this afternoon in the wake of his dismissal by Trump, Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree reported.

Update Mar 13, 2018 12:31 PM EDT: The White House has fired a top Tillerson aide who said in a statement Tuesday that the secretary of state "had every intention of staying in the job" and that Tillerson never spoke with the president before his dismissal, The Associated Press reported.

"He will miss his colleagues at the Department of State and the foreign ministers he has worked with throughout the world," the statement said. "The secretary did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling."

Unidentified officials told the AP that Steve Goldstein, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, was dismissed shortly after he released the statement. Goldstein had also told reporters that Tillerson learned of his firing Tuesday morning from Trump's tweet announcing he was nominating CIA chief Mike Pompeo to lead the State Department.

Update Mar 13, 2018 11:44 AM EDT: Trump asked Tillerson to step aside Friday, prompting the secretary of state to end a trip to Africa early on Monday, according to The Washington Post.

“I felt like, look, I just need to get back,” Tillerson said Monday as he was flying back to Washington, the Post reported.

Tension between Trump and Tillerson came to a head last week, unidentified sources told the newspaper, although it was not immediately clear what caused the recent rift.

>> READ MORE: Who is Gina Haspel, the new CIA director nominee?5 things to know about Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson | Pompeo may replace Tillerson under White House plan, reports sayTillerson slams reports he considered resigning, called Trump a 'moron'MORE


Reader Comments


Next Up in Politics

What do you think of Ohio making it harder to put issues on the ballot?
What do you think of Ohio making it harder to put issues on the ballot?

If you’re an elitist, Ohio House Joint Resolution 19 should be your cup of tea. HJR 19, backed by the Ohio General Assembly’s Republican leaders, would make it harder for rank-and-file Ohioans to amend the state constitution. The way things are now, Ohio voters may propose an amendment to the state constitution by gathering signatures on...
Rob Portman says Trump pick for Attorney General is a ‘smart guy,’ will likely get confirmed
Rob Portman says Trump pick for Attorney General is a ‘smart guy,’ will likely get confirmed

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told the Dayton Daily News Friday that he believes the Senate will confirm William Barr as attorney general, replacing Jeff Sessions who was fired last month by President Donald Trump. Portman met with reporters for the paper a short time after Trump announced that he would appoint Barr to replace Sessions. The announcement...
Shutdown averted as Congress passes two-week spending bill
Shutdown averted as Congress passes two-week spending bill

The Senate and House voted Thursday to keep the federal government open until Dec. 21, averting what could have a government shutdown at midnight Saturday and the potential furlough of thousands of civilian workers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. By voice votes, the House and Senate sent a two-week spending bill to President Donald Trump to finance...
Votes delayed on Trump’s picks for Ohio appeals court
Votes delayed on Trump’s picks for Ohio appeals court

With congressional schedules backed up this week because of the memorial service for former President George H.W. Bush, the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday delayed confirmation votes for Ohio solicitor Eric Murphy and Justice Department official Chad Readler for seats on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. In a statement, a committee...
The VA stayed open during the Bush funeral. Here’s why.
The VA stayed open during the Bush funeral. Here’s why.

If you were wondering why the Dayton VA stayed open during Wednesday’s National Day of Mourning for the funeral of former President H.W. Bush — after previously closing during funerals for Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford — here’s the explanation from Dayton VA Spokesman Ted Froats. “While we join the rest of our...
More Stories