President Trump fires Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

Incoming CIA director Gina Haspel delivers remarks at the 2017 William J. Donovan Award Dinner in Washington DC

US President Donald Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after a series of public rifts over policy on North Korea, Russia and Iran, replacing his chief diplomat with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

"We wish Secretary-Designate Pompeo well", Goldstein - who is undersecretary of state for public affairs and public diplomacy - said, in a series of tweets from his official account.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly.

Fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L), and his replacement, Mike Pompeo. We got along quite well but we disagreed on things. Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the first woman so chosen. If confirmed, she would become the CIA's first female director.

The news broke just hours after Tillerson debarked from a plane from a weeklong trip to Africa.

Vincent Viola The Army veteran and former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange was nominated by Trump to be secretary of the Army, but withdrew his name from consideration in February.

He cited the Iran nuclear deal as an example of disagreements with Mr Tillerson and said he and Mr Pompeo have "a similar thought process".

"This is a level of discussion, this president is going to drive this effort, this negotiation, but it will take a team to build out the picture, so that we put the president in the best position so that he can achieve that outcome", Pompeo said on Sunday.

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Mr. Trump released a statement saying he was "proud" to nominate Pompeo to replace Tillerson. He "did not speak to the president this morning and is unaware of the reason" for his firing, the spokesman added.

It also comes amid a dramatic diplomatic opening with North Korea, with Trump set to hold a historic meeting with leader Kim Jong Un in May. The Post's Gearan, Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker reported on October 4 that "the already tense relationship between the two headstrong men - one a billionaire former real estate developer, the other a former captain of the global oil industry - has ruptured into what some White House officials call an irreparable breach that will inevitably lead to Tillerson's departure, whether immediately or not".

The Washington Post reports that Trump asked Tillerson to step aside on Friday, March 9 moments after he had arrived in Kenya. Most pressing of all: what to do about North Korea?

But the White House distanced itself from those remarks, and a few days later, Mr Tillerson himself backed off.

"He dived into policy matters in a way that unnerved many professionals at the agency", the official added,"and morale was taking a blow that was spreading from the analytical side, where some people feared he was tailoring some PDBs (President's Daily Briefs intelligence assessments presented to the president) to tell Trump what he wanted to hear rather than what the intelligence assessments were".

The rumors came a month after a bombshell NBC News report revealed Tillerson privately railed against the president and called him a "moron" at a closed-door meeting at the Pentagon.

Tillerson's departure marks the latest in a flood of turnover in Trump's inner circle, including the exits of national security advisor Mike Flynn, strategist Steve Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus, top economic advisor Gary Cohn, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, and White House communications director Hope Hicks. "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".

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