Trump fires Secretary of State Tillerson

Trump fires Secretary of State Tillerson

Outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson apparently became the first American Cabinet secretary to be fired over Twitter on Tuesday, when President Donald Trump announced the former ExxonMobil CEO's impending departure at 8:44 a.m. Tillerson later said during a press conference that he received a call from Trump to inform him of the decision at around noon-three hours after the tweet.

Nearly from the get-go, Tillerson, the former CEO of Irving-based Exxon Mobil, seemed out of sorts and out of step with his mercurial boss.

Tillerson's sacking comes shortly after Trump, without consulting his top diplomat, made a decision to accept an invitation to talks with North Korea's Kim Jong-Un on resolving the Korean nuclear stand-off.

Both are considered to be among of the strongest supporters of diplomacy now on the scene in Western governments, even though Tillerson's position frequently clashed with the White House and was undermined by a rocky personal relationship with Trump.

Iran agreed before Mr Trump took office to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions. After the agreement was completed in 2015, Pompeo worked tirelessly as a member of Congress to meet with European bankers, diplomats and CEOs to make the case that investing in Iran was not as safe as they were hearing from John Kerry, who was secretary of state at the time. To ease the way for such talks, Tillerson and Mattis wrote an op-ed previous year that said the US had no interest in regime change for North Korea. "Really, it was a different mind-set, a different thinking".

Trump had scant words of praise for Tillerson, who had always been rumored to be about to be pushed out. Pompeo was brought into the White House Friday after returning from an overseas trip and was offered the job formally by phone Saturday.

The White House then fired Goldstein just hours after Tillerson was let go on Tuesday morning.

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In announcing Tillerson's sacking earlier Tuesday, Trump lavished praise on Pompeo, a former United States army officer and congressman who led the Central Intelligence Agency for almost 14 months, saying he would do a "fantastic job!"

Though Countryman said he disagreed with Tillerson "for not defending adequately the budget and the personnel of the State Department", he respected him and the role he played - particularly as "somebody who was a restraining influence on the worst instincts of a president who is - I don't know if the right word is unchained or unhinged". Hours later, he was sacked, too. Meanwhile, Tillerson's aggressive budget cuts and an ill-conceived reorganization plan alienated potential allies in both the State Department and Congress. Compare Tillerson's response to that of Pompeo.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland had developed a strong working relationship with Tillerson.

From the start, the former Exxon chief had been an unlikely pick for top diplomat, with no formal experience but a lifetime's worth of personal relationships with heads of state and powerful global figures, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Tillerson's insult to Trump's intelligence came after heated discussions about Afghanistan policy, in which Trump had pushed to end the US presence altogether and flirted with outsourcing the military counterterrorism campaign to private contractors.

Blessing said he believes the move also adds ammunition for the president's critics.

Tillerson did not address reports that he had only learned of his sacking earlier that day when he read about it in Trump's tweet, but said he had since spoken to the president by telephone. USA sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh "waivers" to suspend them on May 12.

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