President Donald Trump fired his secretary of state on Tuesday, announcing on Twitter that he would elevate his spymaster to the role of global diplomat-in-chief.
And he said he will appoint a woman to lead the CIA for the first time in history.
‘Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job!’ the president tweeted.
‘Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!’
You’re fired: Rex Tillerson was abruptly fired by Donald Trump on Tuesday morning in a single tweet
Replacement: Mike Pompeo, who had been CIA director, will now lead the State Department
Goodbye: Rex Tillerson was last seen on Monday boarding his plane home to the United States after a tour of Africa which concluded in Abuja, Nigeria, after taking in countries including Ethiopia and Kenya
Haspel was the CIA’s deputy director, a career officer who was a longtime clandestine officer.
In a statement, Trump said Pompeo ‘graduated first in his class at West Point, served with distinction in the U.S. Army, and graduated with Honors from Harvard Law School. He went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives with a proven record of working across the aisle.’
He called Haspel’s move to the CIA’s reins ‘a historic milestone.’
Trump also had words of praise for Tillerson: ‘A great deal has been accomplished over the last fourteen months, and I wish him and his family well,’ he said.
The president, however, had clashed with Tillerson over and over again in the past year, seeing him as a relic of the Republican establishment at a time when the nation needed more unconventional thinking.
The Washington Post reported that Tillerson was ousted on Friday, meaning that the White House known best for leaking information kept it a secret all weekend.
The outgoing diplomat’s last act in office was a shot across Vladimir Putin’s bow, saying Monday that the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in the UK ‘clearly came from Russia’ – and vowing to respond – hours after the White House refused to blame the Kremlin.
In a strongly worded statement, he slammed Russia as an ‘irresponsible force of instability in the world’ and gave the British government his backing after Prime Minister Theresa May pointed her own finger toward Moscow.
‘We have full confidence in the UK’s investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack that took place in Salisbury last week,’ Tillerson said Monday.
‘There is never a justification for this type of attack, the attempted murder of a private citizen on the soil of a sovereign nation, and we are outraged that Russia appears to have again engaged in such behavior.
‘Russia continues to be an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens.’
He added that those responsible ‘must face appropriately serious consequences.’
Tillerson made the remarks during his trip to Africa just hours after the the White House broke a week-long silence to condemn the chemical attack, but declined to mention Moscow.’