President Donald Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
With Mr Pompeo moving, CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel will take over the running of that department.
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
Mr Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before Mr Trump's announcement. The president offered no explanation for the change, but thanked Mr Tillerson for his service.
The former head of the CIA as secretary of state.... What could go wrong? Or right?
Was this related to the British spy incident as is claimed? Or is something else afoot?US President Donald Trump has removed Rex Tillerson from his role as Secretary of State, less than a day after the top diplomat slammed Russia for their suspected role in a poisoning attack on British soil.
It's also being reported Tillerson was asked to step down Friday
The White House yesterday pointedly refused to join the UK, arguably their staunchest ally, in condemning Russia for their part in the poisoning of a former double agent in Salisbury.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had earlier condemned the attack in a briefing to reporters, but stopped short of laying the blame for the attack at the door of the Kremlin.
Under Tillerson, however, the State Department (roughly equivalent to the Foreign Office) issued their own strongly-worded statement condemning Russia’s actions and pledging support to the UK.
US outlets are reporting that Trump asked Tillerson to resign his post on Friday, when the two disagreed on the President’s plans to meet North Korean dictator Kim-Jong-Un.
His statement yesterday on Russia’s suspected role in the attack in Salisbury incident, which has left Sergei Skripal and his daughter in a critical condition, surprised observer.
It is possibly more forceful as a result of his imminent departure, rather than the cause of it.