Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA

Trump's Choice To Oust Tillerson Made 'By Myself'

March 13, 2018 - 8:54 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday that he made the decision to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "by myself."

The President added that Tillerson will be "much happier now," and he appreciates his service. Trump said he and Tillerson had been "talking about this for a long time," and they had disagreed on issues like the Iran deal.

Trump is praising the energy and intellect of his incoming Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who has led the CIA.

Pompeo is to be replaced at CIA by Gina Haspel, Pompeo's deputy at CIA. She would be the first woman in that role.

Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before Trump's announcement. Trump offered no explanation for the change.

The undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, Steve Goldstein, said Tillerson "had every intention of staying" in the job because he felt he was making critical progress in national security. Two White House officials said Tillerson was told he was out on Friday. The sources weren't authorized to speak publicly and demanded anonymity. But Goldstein said Tillerson "did not speak to the President and is unaware of the reason."

Goldstein said Tillerson will miss his colleagues at the State Department and the foreign ministers he worked with.

Goldstein said, "We wish Secretary Pompeo well."

The president spoke to reporters at the White House shortly before departing for Joint Base Andrews for his trip to California.

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