Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Trump fires Sec. of State Tillerson, CIA chief Pompeo replaces

President Donald Trump deposed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA director Mike Pompeo, appointing Gina Haspel instead.
This is a big uproar of the Trump cabinet. Tillerson had to stop his trip to Africa and return to Washington the day before the announcement, as preparations had been made for a meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.
Haspel was the deputy director of the CIA. She is the first woman to direct American intelligence.

Tillerson recently adopted an ambivalent attitude towards North Korea. In mid-February, he said he "listened" to Pyongyang and added that his job is to "ensure" that the North Koreans know that Washington keeps the negotiating channels open. At the same time, he also said that the United States still prefers the policy of "big sticks" in relations with North Korea.
Pompeo seems to have chosen a more severe approach. On Sunday, he said Trump would not make any "concessions" to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. In an interview with Fox News, he also said that Pyongyang should stop its rocket trials and allow the United States to conduct military exercises in the region. North Korea must also put discussions on denuclearization on the table, he added.

Pompeo thanked Trump for the "opportunity to serve as secretary of state" and said he was "honored" to work as head of the CIA.

Tillerson also did not agree with the White House regarding the case of Sergei Skripal, the former double agent poisoned in the United Kingdom. Tillerson said he did not know whether the Russian government was aware of the attack, but agreed with British investigators that Moscow was "likely responsible." The White House press, Sarah Sanders, refused to take responsibility for the incident, suggesting that more evidence was needed to draw definitive conclusions.

The relationship between Trump and Tillerson has been filtered for a while. In October 2017, NBC said Tillerson called the president an "moron" and threatened to resign. The Secretary of State rejected the reports on his intention to leave his post. Repeatedly he refused to deny the messages that he called Trump an "moron"

In mid-October of 2017, it was also reported that Trump was trying to undermine Tillerson's diplomatic initiatives with North Korea. The US diplomat also rejected these reports and swore diplomatic efforts to continue "until the first bomb drops."

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