Opinion Why Trump dumped Tillerson
Tillerson heads to Africa with explaining to do for Trump
As far as Africa's concerned, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the Trump administration have some explaining to do.President Donald Trump's description of "s******e countries" in January was greeted with a mix of horror and outrage in Africa, where many don't know what to think about the U.S. president — or what he thinks of them. He's rarely spoken about priorities for the continent, which garnered a mere seven paragraphs on the very last pages of Trump's National Security Strategy.
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There's never a dull moment in President Trump's White House.
Trump has dramatically shaken up up his frontline national security team just days after announcing a potentially groundbreaking diplomatic overture to North Korea. On Tuesday morning, the president unceremoniously dumped long-suffering Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (wholearned of his ouster via Trump's tweet), replacing him with loyal CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Trump ia also promoting Gina Haspel, the CIA's deputy director, to lead the agency. She would be the to helm the 70-year-old spy agency. Both positions are subject to Senate confirmation, but both Pompeo and Haspel are likely to be confirmed (although Pompeo's hearings might be a little rockier).
Longtime diplomat: Tillerson's public firing makes my head explode
Donald Trump's firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Twitter was unprecedented but also inevitable given their policy differences, Aaron David Miller says.Tuesday's public firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, by presidential tweet no less, is a bizarre and veritable head-exploder.
But the question begs: Why is Tillerson out? What caused this massive national security shakeup?
You can see it all in the president's praise of Pompeo: "Tremendous energy, tremendous intellect. We're always on the same wavelength. The relationship has been very good, and that's what I need from a secretary of state."
President Trump commends Mike Pompeo, his choice to succeed Rex Tillerson as secretary of state: "Tremendous energy, tremendous intellect, we're always on the same wavelength"
— CNN (@CNN)
We're always on the same wavelength. This is key. From day one, Pompeo's refusal to break publicly with Trump, his willingness to vouch for his boss' often-maligned intelligence and credibility, and his corralling of the forces of the CIA's part of the "deep state" have given Trump pause to wonder whether Pompeo, who briefs Trump daily and sees him more often than Tillerson did, wouldn't be better as his chief diplomat.
Out in Africa? Tillerson trip leaves hosts nonplussed
From the outset, Rex Tillerson's first trip to Africa looked half-hearted and token, but with the hindsight knowledge that the U.S. Secretary of State was fired just two days in, it's his African hosts who must be wondering why they bothered.Beyond $533 million in humanitarian aid and some pat remarks about security and not getting too cosy with China, Tillerson's main aim appeared to be clearing up the mess left by President Donald Trump's reported dismissal of some African nations as "shithole countries". Trump later denied making the comment.
Pompeo is Trump's kind of guy. He'll defend his boss no matter what. That sort of unquestioning loyalty has always been absolutely critical to Trump.
Tillerson, of course, hardly fit that mold.
The former ExxonMobil CEO famously called the president a "moron" after a meeting last summer — and then didn't really deny it. He has since spent the better part of the past six months playing a very small role in Trump's ego-centered policy process, Tillerson came to disagree with the president on matters large and small. As but one example, mere hours before his firing, Tillerson seemed to break with the president byfor a nerve gas attack in England. ("White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had repeatedly declined to blame Russia for the nerve gas attack," as my colleague Peter Weber pointedly .)
Such things hardly escaped Trump's notice. "The Iran deal. I guess he thought it was okay. We were not really thinking the same," the president said.
Tillerson fails to thank Trump after firing
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson thanked the American people, his State Department staff and the nation's extensive network of diplomats in his farewell statement on Tuesday. One person he did not thank: President Donald Trump, the man who nominated him for the job but abruptly told the world of his ouster in a tweet on Tuesday morning.The only mention of Trump came at the top of the statement when Tillerson mentioned that the President had called him at "a little after noontime from Air Force One" to talk about his ouster.
But let's be honest. Really, it was the moron thing. That was the beginning of the end. If there is one thing our "" of a commander in chief cannot stand, it's being insulted and undermined. There was simply no way Tillerson would last. In some ways, it's a wonder he lasted this long.
And so now America will have a new secretary of state, this one presumably more line-toeing and loyal.
What will Pompeo's State Department look like? When he faces the Senate Foreign Relations committee, he will surely be questioned by Democrats and Republicans alike about whether he will recapitalize the department, which has been vitiated under Tillerson. Whatever he says will not prove too much of an obstacle, however. The Senate will want Trump to have a full team in place before the start of serious negotiations with North Korea. They might also see Pompeo as someone who can gently nudge Trump from the ledge in terms of a draconian trade war.
Meanwhile, Haspel, a respected CIA insider, will face questions about her knowledge of the CIA's rendition, interrogation, and detention policies, and her willingness to speak truth to power, especially when it comes to Russia. She would oversee the country's covert response to Russian election meddling, after all, and her knowledge of the intelligence equities and sensitivities is probably deeper than Pompeo's. Trump is likely to be lauded by national security professionals for choosing her.
But moving forward, the lessons of Tillerson's rocky tenure should be obvious to all members of Trump's team: Don't cross the boss. He simply will not stand for it.
Differences on North Korea key to Trump's Tillerson decision: sources .
<p>Differences over how to deal with North Korea's nuclear challenge were a key factor in President Donald Trump's decision to replace Rex Tillerson as U.S. secretary of state, according to sources familiar with the internal deliberations.</p>Load Error
Trump dumps Tillerson, a key ally to Canada
U.S. President Donald Trump has dumped his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, a man who had been described by some as a key ally to Canada. Tillerson's removal comes amid months of speculation...
Trump dumped Tillerson because he ‘never got over being called a moron’
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