Trump Chose Pompeo as Kindred Spirit to Take Over US Diplomacy

Gina Haspel

Gina Haspel

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, if confirmed as the next secretary of state, would bring a number of assets to his new role as the top USA diplomat: the confidence of President Donald Trump, government experience and an insider's knowledge of Congress and the federal bureaucracy.

Russian senators have expressed cautious optimism over Donald Trump's announcement of Mike Pompeo as the new U.S. Secretary of State. As it turns out, by lasting until March, he's ... still one of the shortest-tenured secretaries of state in American history. The tensions peaked last fall amid reports Tillerson had called Trump a "moron" and considered resigning. "When you look at the Iran deal: I think it's bad, I guess he thinks it was OK". Iran agreed before Trump took office to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions.

Tillerson's head was on the chopping block - as is everyone's in the Trump circle - from literally the day he took the job, given the President's style and mercurial temperament.

Pompeo's alignment with Trump and outspokenness on sensitive policy issues raised questions among current and former CIA staffers who questioned whether the agency's director was pursuing policies and making recommendations that would please the White House, former intelligence officers say.

The reshuffle comes at a time of intense turnover within Trump's administration that has alarmed those both in and out of the White House. Tillerson had long pushed Trump to remain in the agreement and had been pursuing a delicate strategy with European allies and others to try to improve or augment it to Trump's liking.

Mr Trump publicly undercut Mr Tillerson's diplomatic initiatives numerous times and Mr Tillerson appeared out of the loop this month when Mr Trump announced plans to meet with North Korea's Kim. When Trump ultimately accepted Kim's invitation for a meeting, Tillerson was in Ethiopia, though he said he spoke with Trump about it shortly before it was announced.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo will replace Tillerson.

"We wish Secretary-Designate Pompeo well", Goldstein - who is undersecretary of state for public affairs and public diplomacy - said, in a series of tweets from his official account.

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As for his relationship with Tillerson, Trump said, "Really, it was a different mindset. It was a different thinking".

The circumstances behind the firing were unclear.

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

A top State Department official says President Donald Trump never explained to ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the reason why he was sacked.

This morning's tweet from Donald Trump confirming the sacking caught many people by surprise.

"We've been talking about this for a long time", Trump said, citing the Iran nuclear deal as one of their points of disagreement.

"Pompeo was the most political Central Intelligence Agency director in memory", said an administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Tillerson also told reporters that the attack would "certainly trigger a response". There were no obvious signs from his behavior or his aides on the plane that his departure was imminent.

Pompeo said in a statement of the president's decision, "If confirmed, I look forward to guiding the world's finest diplomatic corps in formulating and executing the President's foreign policy".

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