White House Plans To Fire Tillerson, Replace Him With CIA's Pompeo

Violet Powell
December 1, 2017

The New York Times reported Thursday on President Donald Trump's plan to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo in the upcoming weeks.

Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) would replace Pompeo in Foggy Bottom, according to the officials who wished to remain anonymous before the decisions are announced.

Mr Trump surprised many observers when he tweeted that Mr Tillerson was "wasting his time" pursuing contacts with North Korea, and Mr Tillerson was quoted as having said that the president was a "moron", though he denied having said it.

Tillerson was reported in October to have privately called Trump a "moron", something which the secretary of state sought to dismiss.

"There has been a kind of Cold War going on between these two", Wallace noted, adding there has seemed to be a rift between Trump and Tillerson on handling North Korea. The report said that Republican Arkansas Sen.

The White House plan, which Trump has not yet signed off on, would force a major realignment early in his term, also creating a vacancy atop the Central Intelligence Agency that officials said could be filled by Republican Sen.

"Under his plan, the shake-up of the national security team would happen around the end of the year or shortly afterward". "He serves at the pleasure of the president".

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"There are no personnel announcements at this time", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later said in a statement that left Tillerson twisting in the wind.

However Mr Pompeo, a former three-term member of Congress, has increasingly moved to the forefront as he has gained Mr Trump's trust on national security matters.

Tillerson, 65, has spent much of his tenure trying to smooth the rough edges of Trump's unilateralist "America First" foreign policy, with limited success. On several occasions, the president publicly undercut his diplomatic initiatives.

"This is a hellish environment for a secretary of state", said one State Department official on condition of anonymity.

He has offered effusive praise for Trump despite the president's criticism of US intelligence agencies, some of which concluded that Russian Federation conducted an influence campaign to boost Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Yet divisions on key foreign policy issues emerged quickly, and Trump has repeatedly undermined Tillerson by voicing positions at odds with those the State Department was pushing. Tillerson's advice to Trump to stay in the Paris climate deal and certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal was similarly overruled.

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