Trump fires Tillerson, names Pompeo as successor

WASHINGTON: Donald Trump on Tuesday sacked his top diplomat Rex Tillerson and named current CIA chief Mike Pompeo to succeed him, ending a rocky tenure by the Texas oilman who had been sidelined on the world stage by the mercurial president.
The outgoing secretary of state, who returned before dawn from a trip to Africa, did not speak to the president before his sacking was announced and was unaware of the reason for his sudden downfall, according to a top aide.
A senior White House official said the president wanted to reshuffle his team with a view to launching talks with North Korea, following last week’s spectacular announcement of a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-Un. Trump had scant words of praise for Tillerson, who had long been rumoured to be about to be pushed out.
But addressing reporters before leaving on a trip to California, Trump spoke openly of his disagreements with the former Exxon chief — including over the Iran nuclear deal — as he explained his decision to replace him.
Meanwhile, one of the US State Department’s most senior officials was sacked after his comments on the firing of Tillerson appeared to contradict the White House version of events.
“This has been the honour of a lifetime and I am grateful to the president and the secretary for this opportunity. I look forward to getting some rest,” Under-Secretary of State Steve Goldstein said.