Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is out at the State Department after being fired. President Trump made the decision to fire Tillerson last Friday, but announced the decision Tuesday morning and declared CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his replacement.
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
According to a White House official, "The President wanted to make sure to have his new team in place in advance of the upcoming talks with North Korea and various ongoing trade negotiations."
For months, Trump and Tillerson have been at odds on a number of issues, including the Iran deal, Qatar, TPP, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Paris Climate Accord, North Korean negotiations and more. .
“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," President Trump released in an additional statement. "As Director of the CIA, Mike has earned the praise of members in both parties by strengthening our intelligence gathering, modernizing our defensive and offensive capabilities, and building close ties with our friends and allies in the international intelligence community. I have gotten to know Mike very well over the past 14 months, and I am confident he is the right person for the job at this critical juncture. He will continue our program of restoring America’s standing in the world, strengthening our alliances, confronting our adversaries, and seeking the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
"His experience in the military, Congress, and as leader of the CIA have prepared him well for his new role and I urge his swift confirmation," 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. Finally, I want to thank Rex Tillerson for his service. A great deal has been accomplished over the last fourteen months, and I wish him and his family well.”
The firing comes just days after the White House announced President Trump has accepted an invitation to meet from North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un. The same day of the announcement, Tillerson was in Africa and said, "We are a long ways from negotiations."
Pompeo is well respected by members of both sides of the political aisle. He has received praise from former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell.
"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," Pompeo said in a statement released by the White House. "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. I am proud of the work we have done on behalf of America and know that the Agency will continue to thrive under the leadership of Gina Haspel."
"If confirmed, I look forward to guiding the world’s finest diplomatic corps in formulating and executing the President’s foreign policy. In my time as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, I have worked alongside many remarkable Foreign Service officers and Department of State leaders serving here in the United States and on the very edge of freedom. I know I will learn from them and, as President Trump set out in his State of the Union Address, work hard to ensure that “our nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free,” Pompeo continued.
Gina Haspel is being promoted and currently serves as CIA deputy director.
"After thirty 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," Haspel released in a statement. "If confirmed, I look forward to providing President Trump the outstanding intelligence support he has grown to expect during his first year in office."
Pompeo and Haspel will require Senate confirmation for their new positions.
This is a developing story, stay tuned for updates. This post has been updated with additional information.