Trump sacks Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, CIA chief to replace him

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New Delhi: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that he is replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo.

Trump announced the shakeup on Twitter and said that he had tapped the CIA’s deputy director, Gina Haspel, to replace Pompeo at the CIA.

Gina Haspel will be the first woman to head the agency.

Trump thanked Tillerson for his service and said Pompeo will do a “fantastic job.”

Trump tweeted, “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!”

Tension between Trump and Tillerson was simmering for many months, but the president and his top diplomat reached a breaking point over the past week, reported the Washington Post.

The paper reports that Trump asked Tillerson to step aside last Friday and the former Exxon Mobil executive had cut short his trip to Africa to return to Washington on Monday.

Since Tillerson took the post in February 2017, mixed messages repeatedly came out of the White House. The intramural clashes between the president and secretary of State came amid major international crises, including a potential nuclear showdown with North Korea.

Tillerson’s firing comes at a time when US begins preparations for a historic meeting between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in May.

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