Another One Bites the Dust: Tillerson Ousted as Secretary of State


With his administration in constant upheaval, President Trump maintained the tradition of firings with a surprise announcement on Twitter this morning, replacing Rex Tillerson with Mike Pompeo as the Secretary of State.

The move by President Trump came as a surprise to many, especially Tillerson, who, according to the New York Times, found out about his firing when an aide showed him the tweet. In the tweet, Trump congratulated Pompeo and thanked Tillerson for his service. With the former oil executive and President Trump disagreeing on a number of issues, many had only speculated on Tillerson’s departure. The New York Times reported that House Chief of Staff John Kelly did warn Tillerson, telling him, “You might get a tweet.”

The last straw for Tillerson was when he openly disagreed with the White House regarding the poisoning of an ex-British spy. Moments after Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to place the blame on Russia, Tillerson voiced his suspicion that Russia was indeed behind the ex-spy’s death, supporting the UK’s assessment, as reported by The Guardian.   

Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director, will replace Tillerson at the end of the month. As a result, CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel will step up to replace Pompeo and become the first female to lead the CIA. Long favored by the President, Pompeo’s appointment puts the position of Secretary of State more in line with Trump’s plans. According to CNN, President Trump has wanted to bring Pompeo on-board for months, with the President saying that he and Pompeo are, “on the same wavelength” and that they “have a similar thought process.”  

Nearly three hours after sending out the tweet firing Rex Tillerson, President Trump called to dismiss him formally. While Tillerson will not vacate the position until March 31, Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan will take over responsibilities by the end of the day, according to the New York Times.

The White House shake-up did not stop with Tillerson, however. Only a few hours after the Secretary of State’s ousting, the White House also fired undersecretary of public affairs for the State Department, Steve Goldstein. With Goldstein’s firing, the State Department now has only one out of six permanent undersecretary positions. According to CNN, the Undersecretary of Political Affairs, Tom Shannon, plans to retire along with Chief of Staff, Margaret Peterlin and the Deputy Chief of Staff, Christine Ciccone. Two other undersecretary positions await the Senate’s approval.

With the much-anticipated negotiations with North Korea on the horizon, many have voiced their concern for the recent White House upheaval. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), took to Twitter to criticize the recent restructuring of the State Department saying that Pompeo’s “credibility will be diminished as someone who could be here today and gone tomorrow.”

Pelosi’s comments point to the long list of administration officials appointed by President Trump who have either been fired or have resigned. With this, Tillerson joins the likes of Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus and more. A comprehensive list of former Trump Administration officials can be found here.

Sound Off!