President Donald Trump made a series of changes in his administration with all the drama of his former reality show.
Without actually uttering the words “you’re fired” the president used Twitter to announce a series of moves that put Tillerson out-to-pasture, moved his CIA chief over to head the State Department and gave the CIA it’s first ever woman director.
“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State,” Trump tweeted. “Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen.”
The president also thanked Tillerson for his service.
“Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!”
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
Tillerson’s departure was in the works for some time, according to the president.
“We’ve been talking about this for a long time… We disagreed on things… The Iran deal… So we were not thinking the same,” he said Tuesday morning just before boarding Marine One on the White House South Lawn. “I actually got on well with Rex but it was a different mindset.”
A report claims that Tillerson was actually fired on Friday and that the White House, known for leaks, managed to keep it out of the news until Tuesday. Speculation is that Tillerson’s statement that Russia was responsible for the attack in Britain on a former Russian spy and his daughter came after the White House had declined to assign blame, putting Tillerson and Trump at odds. The president said he will be speaking to British prime minister Theresa May today about the attack. “It sounds to me like they believe it was Russia.”
The White House said that the timing of the moves was due to the desire of the president to have his new team in place ahead of the upcoming talks with North Korea and as various trade negotiations reach critical points.
“As Director of the CIA, Mike has earned the praise of members in both parties by strengthening our intelligence gathering, modernizing our defensive and offensive capabilities, and building close ties with our friends and allies in the international intelligence community,” trump said of Pompeo. “I have gotten to know Mike very well over the past 14 months, and I am confident he is the right person for the job at this critical juncture.”
Haspel, a career officer and field agent, was the CIA’s deputy director under Pompeo and the president referred to her promotion as “a historic milestone” in a statement issued by the White House.
“Gina Haspel, the Deputy Director of the CIA, will be nominated to replace Director Pompeo and she will be the CIAs first-ever female director, a historic milestone,” he said. “Mike and Gina have worked together for more than a year, and have developed a great mutual respect.”
Haspel thanked Trump for the opportunity to lead the CIA and looks forward to serving as the nation’s spy chief.
“I am grateful to President Trump for the opportunity, and humbled by his confidence in me, to be nominated to be the next Director of theCentral Intelligence Agency,” Haspel said. “If confirmed, I look forward to providing President Trump the outstanding intelligence support he has grown to expect during his first year in office.”
Pompeo graciously accepted the horizontal promotion and praised the president for his leadership.
“I am deeply grateful to President Trump for permitting me to serve as Director of theCentral Intelligence Agency and for this opportunity to serve as Secretary of State,” Pompeo said in a statement. “His leadership has made America safer and I look forward to representing him and the American people to the rest of the world to further America’s prosperity.”
“If confirmed, I look forward to guiding the worlds finest diplomatic corps in formulating and executing the Presidents foreign policy,” he added.