President Donald Trump on Tuesday said Rex Tillerson is out as secretary of state, and he will be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
He continued, "Finally, I want to thank Rex Tillerson for his service". 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. She would become the CIA's first female director.
"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. Congratulations to all!" Trump said on Twitter. "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".
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Both Pompeo and Haspel must be confirmed by the Senate.
Trump's suprise announcement took place less than four hours after Tillerson's flight landed.
Last October Mr Tillerson was forced to convene a news conference to deny reports that he was considering quitting, though he did not comment on a report that he had called his boss a moron after a meeting last July at the Pentagon.
President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confer during a working lunch with African leaders during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 20, 2017.