Japan 'surprised' at Tillerson's dismissal as USA secretary of state

Violet Powell
March 14, 2018

The President announced via Twitter on Tuesday morning that he is replacing U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

The former Exxon Mobil chief executives refusal to acknowledge the State Departments unique role in shaping Americas relations overseas also left him with few supporters in the federal government and among Americas allies.

Speaking from the agency's briefing room, Tillerson said his priority is to ensure a smooth transition. "President Trump's actions show that every official in his Administration is at the mercy of his personal whims and his worship of Putin".

Pompeo's best chance for success lies in persuading his boss that he is not, as Trump once said, "the only one that matters" in foreign policy.

"We still do not have adequate answers on his Central Intelligence Agency successor-designee's role in the torture program, and Ms. Haspel will need to be a lot more forthcoming in her confirmation process than she has been to date".

Feinstein told reporters on Tuesday that Haspel has asked to speak with her, and that she has a lot of questions for the new appointee.

"We got along actually quite well but we disagreed on things, for example when you look at the Iran deal". "I think it's going to go very well", Trump said.

"I wanted to either break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently, so we were not really thinking the same". According to the New York Times, after a conference call about North Korea organized by national security adviser H.R. McMaster, Tillerson stayed on the line with Mattis and, unaware the other participants were still listening, complained about a series of meetings the National Security Council had set up to consider military options - "signs, Mr. Tillerson said, that [the NSC] was becoming overly aggressive".

The decision comes as the U.S. administration is preparing for high stakes and historic talks between Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

On Iran, Pompeo is expected to support Trump's desire to terminate the nuclear agreement crafted by the Obama administration-a break from Tillerson, who had warned ending the agreement would be extremely risky.

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In contrast to Tillerson, who explicitly ruled out regime change in North Korea, Pompeo has been more hawkish in his public comments.

The news that President Trump had abruptly fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson while he was on an overseas trip hit Capitol Hill Tuesday morning, as details trickled out throughout the day about the unclear circumstances of the ouster and what will happen in the weeks ahead.

John McEntee, Trump's personal assistant, was sacked and escorted off White House grounds this morning, the "Wall Street Journal" reported, citing the mysterious security issue.

While traveling in Africa on Monday, Tillerson called Russian Federation "an irresponsible force of instability in the world". His stance created another messaging problem for a White House that has often struggled to project a united front.

He appeared to be caught by surprise last week when Trump announced he had accepted Kim's invitation to meet. Goldstein's swift firing after refuting the Trump administration's rhetoric further reinforces the erratic nature of the White House under Trump's tenure and stands as a cause for concern moving forward.

But his efforts were often overshadowed by Trump's un-diplomatic style and his streams of taunting tweets stirring global tensions.

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

Tillerson highlighted what he believed were successes under his leadership at the department, such as the "maximum pressure" policy to force the North Korean leadership to the negotiating table by increasing the "scope and effectiveness of the sanctions" against the regime. That should help address the gnawing uncertainty among leaders around the world created by mixed messages from Trump and Tillerson. "If confirmed as secretary of state, Director Pompeo must be ready to take a firm line with Vladimir Putin and ensure that the threat Russian Federation poses to our democracy is swiftly addressed".

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, said the Senate confirmation process for Pompeo should be "vigorous".

Lawmakers from both major parties have criticised those cuts and the administration's failure to fill dozens of open jobs there. "We have a state department thats been emaciated and a diplomacy that's been undermined at a critical time in our history".

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