Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump taps Pompeo as Tillerson's replacement: Iran sanctions to follow?

Trump taps Pompeo as Tillerson's replacement: Iran sanctions to follow?

Tillerson's sacking comes shortly after Trump, without consulting his top diplomat, made a decision to accept an invitation to talks with North Korea's Kim Jong-un on resolving the Korean nuclear stand-off.

In Secretary Pompeo, the Europeans - who want to see the Iran nuclear deal continued - will find a more demanding counterpart than Tillerson.

Evans Revere, a former senior US diplomat who dealt with North Korea under President George W. Bush, said Trump's move sends "a bad signal about the role of diplomacy".

There had been rumours throughout most of Mr Tillerson's tenure of friction between Mr Trump and his secretary of state, a former ExxonMobile chief executive.

"We got along actually quite well but we disagreed on things", Trump said. "I wanted to either break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently, so we were not really thinking the same".

"Pompeo, coming in from the Central Intelligence Agency, is up to speed on this, and that's very important for Trump to have", he said. Trump said that Tillerson didn't share his vision for how the country should move forward.

Senior White House officials said Trump wanted his new team in place before any summit with Kim Jong un, who invited the US president to meet by May after months of escalating tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Then Goldstein, hours after making those comments, was fired, too.

Tillerson's departure comes just as the Trump administration embarks on its most hard and ambitious foreign policy goal to date - engaging the nuclear armed North Korean regime.

"I think it's awful, I guess he thinks it was OK", Trump said. Shortly before the president said he would meet with Kim, Tillerson had stressed that the USA was a "long ways from negotiations" with North Korea.

Former CIA Director John Brennan, who also served during the Obama administration, praised Haspel and said that she "deserves the chance to take the helm" at the CIA.

A look at Mike Pompeo: from Kansas representative and CIA Director to secretary of state.

Steve Goldstein, the outgoing undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, insisted Tuesday that Tillerson "did not speak to the president" prior to Tuesday's announcement "and is unaware of the reason" for his removal.

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The memorial, named "Monument For Our Kids", included a pair of shoes for each child killed by gun violence in the United States. One of the parents in attendance Tuesday was Tom Mauser, whose son was killed in the Columbine school massacre.

Journalists travelling home from Africa with Mr Tillerson said there was "zero indication" he knew his departure was imminent, and state department officials confirmed to USA media that he had not spoken with Mr Trump before the announcement. As of last week, 35 Trump staffers had come and gone since Donald Trump entered the White House, CNN reported, including the recently announced high-profile resignations of communications director Hope Hicks and top economic adviser Gary Cohn.

On Tuesday afternoon, the White House named Heather Nauert, the department's spokesperson and a former Fox News host, acting under secretary to replace Goldstein.

Trump in recent days has told confidants that he feels emboldened, confident in his decisions to order new worldwide trade on tariffs and to meet with Kim Jong Un and far less willing to put up with disloyalty around him, according to a person who has spoken to the president in recent days but was not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations.

Stocks were lower in the afternoon, shaking off early gains on data showing slowing consumer price inflation, on uncertainty about Tillerson's dismissal and replacement by Pompeo. "He will do a fantastic job!"

Mr Tillerson only spoke for approximately ten minutes while the world waited for some acknowledgement of the President, but he closed out his speech thanking the American people for their "hard work and tax dollars" used to support the USA government and praised their and State Department employee's "honesty".

Word of Trump's dissatisfaction with Tillerson and plans to replace him with Pompeo had circulated for months, even as Tillerson insisted he didn't plan to leave and that he knew of no plans for his ouster.

Goldstein was sacked by the White House shortly after issuing the statement. Tillerson also spoke with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Trump publicly undercut Tillerson's diplomatic initiatives numerous times.

The easiest will be North Korea.

Tillerson's departure adds to a period of intense turnover within Trump's administration that has alarmed those both in and out of the White House.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono had been planning a trip to the United States later this week to hold talks with Tillerson about the latest developments in North Korea.

Tillerson later denied that he was considering resigning but did not specifically deny calling Trump a "moron".

Tillerson also said that "much work remains to respond to the troubling behavior and actions on the part of the Russian government", and warned that Russia could face "greater isolation on their part, a situation which is not in anyone's interest".

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