Trump fires Tillerson - announces CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State replacement.

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Published by: Robert Laurie on Tuesday March 13th, 2018


Unless you've been living in the Unabomber's shack, you know there's been a longstanding tension between President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. No one is exactly sure what constituted the "last straw" but we do know that, whatever it was, it's triggered a major shakeup in the Trump administration.  Tillerson is out, CIA Director Mike Pompeo is going to be nominated as his replacement, and CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel will be moving up into Pompeo's position.

Here's the news, as reported by the WaPo

President Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and plans to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him as the nation’s top diplomat, orchestrating a major change to his national security team amid delicate negotiations with North Korea, White House officials said Tuesday.

Tension between Trump and Tillerson has simmered for many months, but the president and his top diplomat reached a breaking point over the past week, officials said.

The reason for the latest rift was unclear. A spokesman for Tillerson said the secretary of state “had every intention of staying” in his job and was “unaware of the reason” for his firing.

Trump has selected Pompeo to replace him at the State Department, and Gina Haspel — the deputy director at the CIA — to succeed him at the CIA. She would become the first woman to run the spy agency.

Reactions to this "reshuffling" are all over the map, but they tend to fall into three camps.

Trump supporters seem to think this is just business as usual in an unconventional administration. When Trump doesn't see eye to eye with you, you're going to lose.  This is how he functioned in the business world, and he functions the same way in the political realm.  Tillerson had become a problem for unspecified reasons so he had to go.

Trump-hating Dems and Nevertrumpers say this is a sign of an administration in complete chaos. Trump doesn’t know what he's doing, he's a buffoon, etc.  It's the same stuff they always say, but with the additional suggestion that Trump fired Tillerson because Tillerson accused Russia of murdering a British spy and his daughter with a "military-grade nerve agent." That sounds exciting, except according to the WaPo it's not the case...

Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, and the embattled diplomat cut short a trip to Africa on Monday to return to Washington.

Tillerson refused to resign but, even if he wasn't immediately fired, he knew he was on his way out - days before he commented on the Russia story.

Finally, conspiracy theorists are convinced this is all an elaborate scheme to get Mike Pompeo out of the CIA, which they claim has become corrupted like the FBI.  This makes no sense for a whole host of reasons, but it's out there so we're letting you know. 

The simple fact is, this move has been a long time coming.  It shouldn't really surprise anyone who's been paying attention.

Pompeo will eventually need to go through a Senate confirmation process (which could get dicey) but he can start immediately and serve for 210 days prior to being confirmed.

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