Trump sacks Rex Tillerson, replaces him with CIA's Mike Pompeo

Trump sacks Rex Tillerson, replaces him with CIA's Mike Pompeo
From Al Jazeera - March 13, 2018

US President Donald Trump has sacked Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, citing differences, and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

"Mike Pompeo, director of the CIA, will become our new secretary of state. He will do a fantastic job," Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!" the president added.

According to the Washington Post, Trump asked Tillerson to leave the post last Friday.

Tillerson cut short his trip to Africa on Monday and returned to Washington, DC, prompting questions about his future at the State Department.

In a statement on Tuesday, Trump said that "a great deal has been accomplished over the last 14 months" with Tillerson as the US' top diplomat.

Trump also said on Twitter that Deputy CIA Director Gina Hapsel will replace Pompeo as the head of the agency. He added that she is "the first woman so chosen".

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

Trump-Tillerson differences

The move by Trump is the biggest shakeup of his cabinet since taking office.

Reports surfaced last October that Trump was looking to replace the embattled Tillerson with CIA Director Pompeo.

Tillerson, a former top executive for the energy giant Exxon, took office on February 1, 2017.

The US president and now-outgoing secretary of state have not seen eye-to-eye on a range of issues, including the Iran nuclear deal and the Gulf crisis.

"We disagreed on things," Trump told reporters outside the White House on Tuesday, adding that the pair "were not really thinking the same".

Tillerson has criticised Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt - which cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017 - from the onset.

He urged the Gulf states to ease the blockade, which contradicted what appeared to be Trump's initial support for the move.

On the Iran nuclear deal, Tillerson has repeatedly had to dispel speculation that Trump would completely scrap the agreement.

In January, Tillerson said the US was working on a plan "to fix" the accord, which Trump has called the "worst deal ever".

Juan Cole, a visiting professor at Qatar University, said Trump's move "is not a surprise".

"This is a pattern with Trump," Cole told Al Jazeera. "When he does not like someone, when he feels the person is not personally loyal to him, he fires him very publicly and in a way to humiliate him."

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