President Trump fires Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

Rex Tillerson
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson listens during a brief photo opportunity with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi at the State Department in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump ousted Rex Tillerson as secretary of state Tuesday, making a surprise Twitter announcement that he’s naming CIA director Mike Pompeo to replace him.

“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State,” Trump tweeted. “He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!”

A White House official said Trump wanted to have a new team in place ahead of upcoming talks with North Korea and various trade talks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.

There had been longstanding rumors throughout most of Tillerson’s tenure of friction between Trump and his secretary of state, a former Exxon Mobile Corp. CEO.

Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before Trump’s announcement. Trump offered no explanation for the change.

In a press conference addressing the media, Tillerson said that his tenure will end at midnight on March 31.