U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was ousted Tuesday, just hours after the former Exxon Mobil Corp. chief executive officer returned from a nearly week-long trip to Africa.
Trump said he’s nominating Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo for the State Department job, saying, “I respect his intellect.” Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel would succeed Pompeo, Trump said, becoming the first woman to lead the agency. Haspel is a career spy, with more than three decades’ experience at the agency.
The president’s decision comes as his administration is preparing for high stakes and historic talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump told reporters at the White House that he and Tillerson had disagreements over key issues, including the Iran nuclear deal.
On Monday, Tillerson joined the British government in saying the poison used in an attack on a former Russian spy in the U.K. clearly came from Russia, though the White House itself had stopped short of assigning blame.