WASHINGTON /March 13, 2018 (AP)(STL.News) —President Donald Trump has ousted Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, tweeting in a surprise Tuesday morning announcement that Tillerson will be replaced by CIA director Mike Pompeo.
A White House official said Trump wanted to have a new team in place ahead of upcoming talks with North Korea and various trade talks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.
There had been longstanding rumors throughout most of Tillerson’s tenure of friction between Trump and his secretary of state, a former Exxon Mobile Corp. CEO.
Pompeo is to be replaced at CIA by Gina Haspel, Pompeo’s deputy at CIA, Trump tweeted. She would be the first woman in that role.
Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before Trump’s announcement. Trump offered no explanation for the change.