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Trump Chose Pompeo as Kindred Spirit to Take Over US Diplomacy

13 March 2018, 06:47 | Taylor George

Trump Chose Pompeo as Kindred Spirit to Take Over US Diplomacy

Incoming CIA director Gina Haspel delivers remarks at the 2017 William J. Donovan Award Dinner in Washington DC

U.S. President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday after a series of public rifts over policy on North Korea, Russia and Iran, replacing his chief diplomat with loyalist CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

But the message Trump delivered to Tillerson on Tuesday can be summarized in the two-word phrase he used to deliver with gusto on "The Apprentice": "You're fired".

USA stock index futures pared their gains and the dollar also trimmed gains versus the yen while extending losses versus the euro amid the news.

The secretary of state was said to roll his eyes or slouch when he disagreed with Mr Trump's decisions.

The Washington Post reports that Trump asked Tillerson to step aside on Friday, March 9 moments after he had arrived in Kenya.

Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas, has already been confirmed by the Senate for his current role at the Central Intelligence Agency, making it extremely likely that he will be confirmed for the State Department role. He will do a fantastic job!

While Tillerson's laconic Texas drawl was at odds with Trump's style, the president may have found his mirror image in Pompeo, who shares his penchant for being combative and opinionated.

Last week Tillerson said that an upcoming meeting between Trump and Kim would focus on "talks" rather than "negotiations".

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, said in a statement that he spoke with Pompeo by phone on Monday morning.

The most public moment of shame came when Trump did not even bother to consult him - or any of his cabinet colleagues for that matter - before deciding to engage North Korea and accept the invitation to meet Kim Jong-un.

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Trump has been mulling plans to replace Tillerson since at least September, according to one administration official.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson participates in the first meeting of the U.S. National Space Council at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, U.S. October 5, 2017. "I wish him all the best in his future endeavors".

Trump's change puts an ardent foe of the Iran nuclear deal in charge of US diplomacy as the president also dives into high-stakes talks with North Korea.

The reshuffle comes at a time of intense turnover within Trump's administration that has alarmed those both in and out of the White House.

But over time, many lawmakers grew to appreciate Tillerson as a relatively steady hand in the chaotic Trump administration.

He also said he is confident that Pompeo will be confirmed by the Senate.

In fact, according to a report by Fox News, the president chose to make this decision ahead of the expected upcoming summit between him and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

But the White House distanced itself from those remarks, and a few days later, Mr Tillerson himself backed off.

Rumors of Tillerson's ouster first started late past year, when reports that appeared to be targeted leaks from the White House emerged that Trump was souring on his secretary of state, following policy disputes and embarrassing leaks.

Tillerson's departure marks the latest in a flood of turnover in Trump's inner circle, including the exits of national security advisor Mike Flynn, strategist Steve Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus, top economic advisor Gary Cohn, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, and White House communications director Hope Hicks.



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