US President Donald Trump on Tuesday sacked the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and instead replaced him with Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Mike Pompeo, while appointing Gina Haspel as the Director of CIA.
The resignation, which was expected since last October, came as a biggest shake-up to the Trump administration. Reports of President Trump and Tillerson falling out were surfacing since some time.
Tillerson, aged 65, left his position as the chief executive of Exxon Mobil to join the Trump administration. The major change of Tillerson’s resignation comes amidst delicate negotiations with North Korea, said White House officials.
Trump had asked Tillerson on Friday to step aside as the Secretary of State, following which the diplomat cut short his trip Africa on Monday and returned to Washington to offer his resignation.
On Tuesday, Trump took to Twitter to announce the news officially, and wrote, “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! 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!”
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! 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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
In a statement issued to the Washington Post, Trump praised both Pompeo and Haspel, saying, “I am proud to nominate the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, to be our new Secretary of State. Mike 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.”
Trump continued, “Gina Haspel, the Deputy Director of the CIA, will be nominated to replace Director Pompeo and she will be the CIA’s first-ever female director, a historic milestone. Mike and Gina have worked together for more than a year and have developed a great mutual respect.”
According to the White House reports, Trump and Tillerson had a long-time clash, and as per Trump, it was important to make the change, as he prepared for talks with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as the upcoming trade negotiations.
Pompeo, in a statement, said, “I am deeply grateful to President Trump for permitting me to serve as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and for this opportunity to serve as Secretary of State. His leadership has made America safer and I look forward to representing him and the American people to the rest of the world to further America’s prosperity. Serving alongside the great men and women of the CIA, the most dedicated and talented public servants I have encountered, has been one of the great honors of my life.”
Haspel, too, issued a statement saying, “After 30 years as an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency, it has been my honor to serve as its Deputy Director alongside Mike Pompeo for the past year. I am grateful to President Trump for the opportunity, and humbled by his confidence in me, to be nominated to be the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.”
Gina Haspel will be the first woman to lead the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States (US). Haspel is currently the deputy director at the CIA.