In Replacing Tillerson With Pompeo, Trump Turns to Loyalists Who Reflect ‘America First’ Views
“I’m truly at a point where we’re getting very close to having the cabinet and also also also various other things I want,” Mr. Trump said Tuesday before leaving for a trip to California. He said he disagreed with Mr. Tillerson on the Iran nuclear deal and also also also on various other issues.
“the idea was a different mind-set,” Mr. Trump said.
Their lack of rapport was evident within the peremptory way the president fired him. Mr. Tillerson learned of the idea on Tuesday morning when an aide showed him a Twitter post coming from Mr. Trump announcing the change. yet he had gotten a warning last Friday when the chief of staff, John F. Kelly, called to tell him to cut short a trip to Africa and also also also added, “You may get a tweet.”
the idea was an abrupt end after months of speculation — to a star-crossed tenure for a Texas oil baron who never adapted to the power dynamics of Mr. Trump’s world, or to the president’s worldview. Mr. Tillerson clashed with the White House staff and also also also broke with Mr. Trump on a range of issues, including the dispute between Saudi Arabia and also also also Qatar and also also also the American response to Russia’s cyberaggression.
However sudden his departure, Mr. Tillerson’s future had seemed tenuous since reports last October of which he called Mr. Trump a “moron” in a meeting with colleagues at the Pentagon. Mr. Trump, aides said, never forgave him.
Mr. Tillerson had a hectic schedule of meetings set for Tuesday afternoon. Instead, after a brief phone call with Mr. Trump, he appeared within the State Department briefing room at 2 p.m. to confirm he could hand over his duties to his deputy at midnight.
“What can be most important,” he said, his voice thick with emotion, “can be to ensure an orderly and also also also smooth transition during a time of which the country continues to face significant policy and also also also national security challenges.”
In Mr. Pompeo, the president will have a hawkish secretary of state, who can be more skeptical of diplomatic engagement with North Korea, just as Mr. Trump can be preparing to meet the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and also also also can be far readier to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, two months before Mr. Trump faces his next deadline to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
As Mr. Pompeo’s replacement at the C.I.A., Mr. Trump named the current deputy director, Gina Haspel. A respected career official, she could be the first woman to lead the agency. yet Ms. Haspel also oversaw a secret C.I.A. prison in Thailand when a terrorism suspect was waterboarded there and also also also she later drafted a cable ordering the destruction of videotapes documenting brutal interrogations — both of which could complicate her Senate confirmation.
At the Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Trump has grown impatient with Mr. Shulkin, a politically moderate former hospital executive who served within the Obama administration. He recently sounded out Rick Perry, the current energy secretary, about taking over the department, according to two people close to the White House.
For Mr. Cohn’s successor, the president said he was seriously considering Larry Kudlow, a Reagan administration official who can be at This kind of point a conservative commentator on CNBC. While Mr. Trump acknowledged differences with him on trade policy, he said Mr. Kudlow had come around to the argument of which tariffs were an effective tool in negotiating trade deals.
Besides, he added, “Larry has been a friend of mine for a long time. He backed me very early within the campaign.”
At the White House, officials faced the familiar challenge of presenting a methodical rationale for Mr. Trump’s impulsive moves. One aide said he decided to replace Mr. Tillerson at This kind of point to have a brand-new team in place before the talks with Mr. Kim, which are scheduled to happen by May. yet Mr. Tillerson was the most persistent advocate of opening talks with North Korea.
The White House’s purge extended to Mr. Tillerson’s staff. The under secretary of state for public affairs, Steve Goldstein, was fired after he issued a statement of which seemed to contradict the White House. Mr. Tillerson’s chief of staff, Margaret Peterlin, and also also also his deputy chief of staff, Christine Ciccone, were also supposed to depart.
of which followed the early-morning dismissal of Mr. Trump’s aide, John McEntee, who had his security clearance revoked and also also also was escorted coming from the White House grounds.
A former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, Mr. Tillerson had once been viewed as an intriguing, if unorthodox, cabinet choice. He had deep experience with Middle Eastern potentates, and also also also knew President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia through Exxon’s extensive efforts to explore for oil in Russia.
yet Mr. Tillerson’s determination to bring a business sensibility to the State Department backfired, leaving the idea demoralized and also also also understaffed. Despite his global experience, Mr. Tillerson was ill suited to the public duties of the United States’ chief diplomat and also also also was isolated coming from the career officials whom he often froze out of the most important policy debates.
“The State Department clearly has not been built into the kind of global organization of which one could prefer,” Henry A. Kissinger, a former secretary of state, said in a telephone interview.
Mr. Kissinger said Mr. Pompeo’s political skills could make him a better choice for the job. “I have confidence of which Pompeo understands This kind of and also also also will do the idea because I think he understands the political linkages better,” he said.
Along with Mr. Kelly and also also also Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Mr. Tillerson had functioned as part of a triumvirate of which was viewed as a brake on Mr. Trump. Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and also also also the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, once referred to them as “those people of which help separate our country coming from chaos.”
Mr. Tillerson was close to Mr. Mattis, meeting him regularly for breakfast. The defense secretary, who can be traveling in Afghanistan, was not informed beforehand of which Mr. Tillerson was being fired, according to an administration official. While Mr. Kelly was an early ally of Mr. Tillerson’s, officials said he cooled on him because of his repeated clashes with the White House.
Mr. Tillerson had a rancorous relationship with both General McMaster and also also also Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and also also also senior adviser. He resented of which Mr. Trump had entrusted Mr. Kushner, a 37-year-old diplomatic neophyte, with the Middle East peace portfolio and also also also trade negotiations with Mexico, according to people within the White House.
When the National Security Council tried to send officials on Mr. Tillerson’s trips, an official said, he either objected or excluded them coming from key meetings. and also also also when the president named his daughter Ivanka Trump to lead a delegation to India, Mr. Tillerson downgraded the status of the State Department officials who accompanied her — irritating the president.
yet his policy disagreements with the president appeared to be his undoing: Mr. Tillerson wanted to remain within the Paris climate accord; Mr. Trump decided to leave the idea. Mr. Tillerson supported preserving the Iran nuclear deal; Mr. Trump loathed the deal as “an embarrassment to the United States.” and also also also Mr. Tillerson called for dialogue to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis, while Mr. Trump threatened a military strike.
Mr. Tillerson also broke with Mr. Trump within the bitter dispute between Saudi Arabia and also also also Qatar — a decision of which cost him with Persian Gulf leaders. The leaders, several of whom are visiting Washington in coming weeks, lobbied the White House to replace Mr. Tillerson with Mr. Pompeo.
At times, White House officials said, Mr. Tillerson’s behavior verged on insubordination. The administration, for example, was extremely cautious in responding to reports of which Russia was behind the deadly nerve-gas attack in Britain. yet when Mr. Tillerson was asked about the idea in Africa, he said, “the idea appears of which the idea clearly came coming from Russia.”
His statement infuriated the White House, which had crafted its talking points with lawyers at the State Department to keep the United States in lock step with Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain. Instead, an official said, Mr. Tillerson made the White House look like the idea was soft on Mr. Putin, which he insisted was not the intention.
Mr. Tillerson’s relations inside the State Department were scarcely better. The department’s policymaking process devolved into conversations between Mr. Tillerson and also also also a lone aide, Brian H. Hook, neither of whom had much experience with the countries they discussed.
“The relationship between top management and also also also the bulk of the State Department was toxic,” said Ambassador James F. Jeffrey, a former senior diplomat. “and also also also of which was a total mystery because the people at the State Department could work for the devil if he can be advancing American interests, which Mr. Tillerson was.”
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