Trump Fires Tillerson as Secretary of State, Names Pompeo as Replacement

Trump announces Gina Haspel as Pompeo's replacement at CIA

President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson / Getty Images
March 13, 2018

President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and Pompeo in turn will be replaced by CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel.

"Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job!" Trump tweeted. "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!"

"I want to thank Rex Tillerson for his service," Trump said in a statement. "A great deal has been accomplished over the last fourteen months, and I wish him and his family well."

Tillerson had recently returned to Washington, D.C. early from a trip to Africa. Trump has been critical of Tillerson in recent months, and the two have been divided on a number of issues, including North Korea, the Paris climate accords, and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

Pompeo, a former congressman from Kansas, has been heavily relied on, as has Haspel, a career CIA officer. If confirmed, Haspel will become the CIA's first female director.

The White House released a statement from Pompeo expressing gratitude for Trump's nomination.

"I am deeply grateful to President Trump for permitting me to serve as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and for this opportunity to serve as Secretary of State," Pompeo said. "His leadership has made America safer and I look forward to representing him and the American people to the rest of the world to further America’s prosperity.

"Serving alongside the great men and women of the CIA, the most dedicated and talented public servants I have encountered, has been one of the great honors of my life. I am proud of the work we have done on behalf of America and know that the Agency will continue to thrive under the leadership of Gina Haspel.

"If confirmed, I look forward to guiding the world’s finest diplomatic corps in formulating and executing the President’s foreign policy. In my time as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, I have worked alongside many remarkable Foreign Service officers and Department of State leaders serving here in the United States and on the very edge of freedom. I know I will learn from them and, as President Trump set out in his State of the Union Address, work hard to ensure that "our nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free."

Haspel said she looked forward to serving if confirmed.

"After thirty years as an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency, it has been my honor to serve as its Deputy Director alongside Mike Pompeo for the past year," she said. "I am grateful to President Trump for the opportunity, and humbled by his confidence in me, to be nominated to be the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. If confirmed, I look forward to providing President Trump the outstanding intelligence support he has grown to expect during his first year in office."

UPDATE: 9:15 A.M.: This article was updated with statements from Trump, Pompeo and Haspel.