US President Trump sacks Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson
US President Donald Trump today ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. This will end Tillerson's rather turbulent tenure, characterized by some public disagreements with the President. This move also comes amid delicate negotiations with sworn enemy North Korea. Reportedly, Trump asked Tillerson to step aside on Friday forcing America's top diplomat to cut short his Africa trip.
Trump makes the announcement on Twitter as well
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
What did Trump say in his statement?
In his statement, Trump praised Pompeo as having "graduated first in his class at West Point, serving with distinction in the US Army and graduating with Honors from Harvard Law School." He also praised Gina Haspel, presently CIA's Deputy Director, nominated to replace Pompeo and become CIA's first-ever female director. Trump termed this a "historic milestone." He also thanked Rex Tillerson "for his service."
What was the problem between Trump and Tillerson?
Trump's relationship with Tillerson soured over handling foreign policy issues. In October'17, Tillerson reportedly called Trump a "moron." Trump was also apparently angry about his chief diplomat's body language in meetings, rolling his eyes and slouching if he disagreed with his boss. They were at odds over North Korea. Trump didn't heed Tillerson's advice about remaining calm when North Korea continued its nuclear provocation.
Meanwhile, Trump's personal assistant John McEntee was also fired
While on the firing spree, Trump also got rid of his personal assistant John McEntee. He was escorted out of the White House because of an "unspecified security issue." Notably, he has been with Trump since the beginning of his Presidential campaign.
Who is Trump's latest chief diplomat Mike Pompeo?
Former CIA director Mike Pompeo is seen as a Trump loyalist. Earlier, he had down-played CIA's findings that Russia influenced last year's US election. However, he also contradicted Trump, when the latter said he believed in Putin's denial of any interference. He maintains that Putin is "dangerous." Moreover, he is against Obama-era policies like the Iran deal and shutting the Guantanamo Bay prison.
Finally, who is CIA's first woman chief, Gina Haspel?
Gina Haspel was appointed CIA Deputy Director in February'17. Gina joined the CIA in 1985 and has spent most of her career working undercover. She has also been an advocate of integrating the US intelligence community. However, detractors criticized her, saying that she oversaw a CIA program that used brutal interrogation techniques on terrorist suspects, like putting people in coffins, sleep deprivation etc.