Rex Tillerson has been removed as the Secretary of State, ending a tumultuous tenure as America’s top diplomat that was marked by a series of public disagreements with his boss — President Donald Trump.
Trump plans to appoint CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace the former Exxon Mobil chief executive. The president picked deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to run the spy agency.
Just on Monday, March 12, Tillerson visited Nigeria on the last leg of his official visits to Africa, being the first high-ranking official under the Trump administration to do so.
He met President Muhammadu Buhari during the visit, where they discussed issues of mutual interest to both countries.
The ex-Secretary of State had also warned Nigeria and the rest of Africa against accessing financial help from China.
Trump announced Tillerson’s sacking via his verified Twitter handle:
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
As reported by the CNBC, since Tillerson took the post in February 2017, mixed messages repeatedly came out of the White House and a State Department with diminishing relevance. The intramural clashes between the president and secretary of State came amid major international crises, including a potential nuclear showdown with North Korea.
The Daily Mail mentioned the rift between Trump and Tillerson, quoting the ousted Secretary of State as saying, “The decision to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un for talks was all down to President Trump himself.” Tillerson reportedly said this on Friday.
He reportedly said Trump had been open to talks ‘for some time’, despite saying just hours before the announcement that the US was ‘a long way from negotiations’ with North Korea.
The White House confirmed on Thursday evening that the President had accepted an invitation from Kim Jong-Un to meet, but did not specify a time and place.
Speaking to reporters during a visit to the African nation of Djibouti, Tillerson said the talks between the two world leaders will take ‘some weeks’ to arrange
‘That is a decision the president took himself. I spoke to him very early this morning about that decision and we had a very good conversation,’ Tillerson said.