Rex Tillerson the US Secretary of State who recently visited the African nations on a tour and was recently fired did not speak to President Donald Trump before he was sacked on Tuesday and has not been given a reason for his ouster, a top aide said.
“The secretary did not speak to the president this morning and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling and not to be regretted,” Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said. The statement from Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein strongly suggests Tillerson found out about his firing from Twitter.
After Tillerson arrived back in Washington before dawn on Tuesday following his tour of African countries Trump announced suddenly on Twitter a few hours later that he was to be replaced by CIA director Mike Pompeo.
“We wish Secretary-Designate Pompeo well,” Goldstein — who is undersecretary of state for public affairs and public diplomacy — said, in a series of tweets from his official account.
“The secretary had every intention of remaining because of the tangible progress made on critical national security issues. He established and enjoyed relationships with his counterparts,” he said.
“The secretary will miss his colleagues at the Department of State and enjoyed working together with the Department of Defense in an uncommonly robust relationship,” he added, in a nod to Tillerson’s close working relationship with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.
In comments outside the White House, Trump heaped praise on Pompeo and alluded to differences with Tillerson, noting their disagreements on Iran.
“When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible. I guess he thought it was okay,” Trump said. “I wanted to either break it or do something, and he felt a little bit differently. So we were really not thinking the same.”
“I’m really at a point where we’re getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want,” Trump said. “But I think Mike Pompeo will be a truly great Secretary of State. I have total confidence in him.”