The long, long list of people Donald Trump has fired from his administration in its first 14 month just got a little longer. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been axed in the most humiliating way possible: via a tweet. You’d expect no less from Trump, but it’s gotta sting.
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
It’s basically all right there. Tillerson, who has been secretary of state since the beginning of Trump’s presidency, is gone. Mike Pompeo, head of the CIA and former Congressman, is taking over. Tillerson is apparently sticking around to the end of the month to ease what will surely be a chaotic transition, and then he’s back to private life.
There’s long been rumours swirling that Trump isn’t a fan of Tillerson, and considers him too immersed in the foreign policy establishment the president loathes so very much. Which is interesting considering the fact that Tillerson – a former chief executive of ExxonMobile – was hired by Trump precisely because he wasn’t a career diplomat.
It’s pretty clear from the video of Tillerson’s speech that this has come as something of a shock to him, despite the fact he’s trying to conceal that.
Rex Tillerson: “My commission as secretary of state will terminate at midnight March the 31st.” pic.twitter.com/T9Ky8PTVG1
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 13, 2018
According to a number of career diplomats speaking to The Daily Beast, there’s a general sense of relief that Tillerson is gone – with many arguing that he basically just sucked as a secretary of state. But they’re also concerned about their new boss Pompeo, who is without question far more right-wing, and likely to enable some of Trump’s worse, wilder foreign policy instincts.
And what about the new boss of the CIA? Well, despite the minor fanfare over the first woman to lead the intelligence agency, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Gina Haspel is perhaps best known for overseeing the CIA’s quite illegal black site and torture program following 9/11. She also tried to destroy video evidence of the torture of two suspects to avoid scrutiny. If Barack Obama had pursued prosecution of the United States’ torture program, it’s entirely possible Haspel and her ilk could have ended up in prison. So that’s nice.
Well. Just another day in the Trump White House, folks. Good stuff.