Rex Tillerson is out as U.S. Secretary of State. President Donald Trump announced the decision in a tweet Tuesday.
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’s reported crude comments about Africa in January haven’t helped.
During a meeting in the White House, Trump is reported to have referred to African nations as “shithole countries” while praising countries like Norway during a discussion about U.S. immigration policy.
President Trump has repeatedly denied making the remark and African Union leaders made it clear last week that they are ready to move on.
Tillerson’s visit to Chad, a key U.S. ally and counterterrorism partner, was overshadowed by hurt and resentment over the Trump administration’s decision to keep Chad on list of nations currently under a U.S. travel ban – a ban that Chad’s top diplomat declared an injustice.
And the now former Secretary of State also made a misstep of his own during his visit to Africa. He received sharp criticism from Chinese diplomats, African economic and political experts as well as many Africans on social media for suggesting that Africa is trading its collective sovereignty for loans from the Chinese government.
Tillerson, a longtime corporate executive, was viewed an unconventional pick for Secretary of State. Trump initially praised Tillerson but the relationship quickly soured. Tillerson never won much respect from longtime State Department personnel and frequently disagreed with his boss on foreign policy.
Rex Tillerson will be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
A senior White House official said Trump works well with Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas, and wanted him in place before the U.S. president’s planned talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and trade negotiations.
Gina Haspel has been tapped to take over Pompeo’s job. She is the first woman chosen to lead the agency.