WASHINGTON (CBS News) – President Donald Trump has replaced Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State with CIA director Mike Pompeo, after months of speculation surrounding Tillerson’s role in the Trump administration. The Washington Post first reported news of the latest staff shakeup for the White House.
Trump tweeted the news of Tillerson’s ouster, thanking him for his service.
News of Tillerson’s departure from the State Department came as the Secretary arrived back to Washington after his overseas visit to Africa, where he reaffirmed the U.S.-Africa relationship in spite of alleged vulgar comments made by the President about immigrants from African nations back in January.
Trump released a statement shortly before leaving for his trip to California saying that he was “proud” to nominate Pompeo to replace Tillerson
“His experience in the military, Congress and as leader of the CIA have prepared him well for his new role, and I urge his swift confirmation,” said Trump in a statement. He added, “I want to thank Rex Tillerson for his service. A great deal has been accomplished over the last 14 months, and I wish him and his family well.”
According to the White House, Gina Haspel, the deputy director of the CIA, will be nominated to replace Pompeo. She would become the CIA’s first female director.
Pompeo said in a statement, “If confirmed, I look forward to guiding the world’s finest diplomatic corps in formulating and executing the President’s foreign policy.”
Pompeo added, “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.'”