Trump fires Tillerson; Pompeo to become next secretary of state
By Dan Merica and Kaitlan Collins, CNN
(photo credit: Photo: U.S. Department of State)
President Donald Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and is replacing 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! 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!" Trump tweeted.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that Trump asked Tillerson to step aside.
Trump "thought it was the right time for the transition with the upcoming North Korea talks and various trade negotiations," a senior administration official said. "POTUS asked Tillerson to step aside on Friday."
Trump has wanted Pompeo as his secretary of state for months now, and the White House began planning for him to take the job last fall, sources told CNN.
Tillerson had few, if any, allies in the West Wing. Though chief of staff John Kelly was initially on his side when he took over, he eventually grew weary of defending him -- especially after the "moron" remark, which Kelly saw as insubordination on Tillerson's part.
Sources close to the President say it was clear Tillerson didn't support Trump. They say Tillerson wanted to handle foreign policy his own way, without the President. Trump didn't feel that Tillerson backed him, a source told CNN.