White House Plans to Replace Secretary Tillerson with CIA Chief Pompeo: The NYT

Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for Secretary of State, at his confirmation hearing Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for Secretary of State, at his confirmation hearing Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The New York Times has reported on a White House plans to replace the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with the CIA chief Mike Pompeo.

The U.S. President Trump has been at odds with his Secretary of State Tillerson on foreign policy over the last few months.

President Trump and Secretary Tillerson have a different approach to issues like Iran deal, North Korean missile test, etc.

The Associated Press has quoted two White House officials that a plan is being discussed to replace the current Secretary of State.

Reports have emerged that the Secretary Tillerson may have to face resignation by the end of December or in the beginning of January.

The NYT said, “The White House has developed a plan to force out Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, whose relationship with President Trump has been strained, and replace him with Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director, perhaps within the next several weeks, senior administration officials said on Thursday.”

On Thursday, The U.S. President responded as the reporters asked, “He’s here. Rex is here.”

The White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders later rejected the reports in a statement, “There are no personnel announcements at this time.”

“Secretary Tillerson continues to lead the State Department and the entire cabinet is focused on completing this incredibly successful first year of President Trump’s administration,” Sanders added.

Meanwhile, the NYT reported, “John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, developed the transition plan and has discussed it with other officials.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, in the reaction to the reports, said Mr. Tillerson was “unaware of anything changing”.

What Could Trigger the End of Tillerson?

President Trump and Secretary Tillerson are like, as BBC’s Barbara Plett said, ‘chalk and cheese in temperament and the way they work. But Mr. Trump is also said to have complained that his secretary of state is too ‘establishment’.”

Their difference in foreign policy came to light over and over again. The Secretary of State had sought a diplomatic engagement with the North Korean regime while President Trump sought to go hard on the ‘rocket man’.

When Tillerson said from China that a diplomatic engagement with the North Korean regimes has been established, President Trump tweeted, “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”

During the GCC crisis, President Trump apparently supported the Saudi bloc and said, the blockade against Qatar was “the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism.”

On the other hand, Tillerson warned the humanitarian impact over the blockade and warned the blockade against Qatar might affect the fight against terrorism.

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