Trump fires Tillerson as secretary of State, names Pompeo as successor

US President Donald Trump fired Rex W. Tillerson as secretary of State after barely more than 13 months on the job in a 5:45 a.m. tweet on Mar. 13 and said he intends to name Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo as his successor.

US President Donald Trump fired Rex W. Tillerson as secretary of State after barely more than 13 months on the job in a 5:45 a.m. tweet on Mar. 13 and said he intends to name Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo as his successor.

Tillerson reportedly had not been happy recently as the country’s top diplomat, and critics quickly called him ineffective in response to his being discharged. A few also conceded that he received little support or encouragement from the White House.

Tillerson accepted Trump’s offer to lead and implement US foreign policy after a 41-year career that began as a petroleum engineer at Exxon Co. USA in 1975 and concluded on his retirement as ExxonMobil Corp.’s chief executive in 2016.

When Tillerson was nominated, time that he spent in Russia while he was with ExxonMobil was considered by some an asset and others a liability. Coincidentally, one of his last statements as secretary was on Mar. 12 after speaking with British Foreign Sec. Boris Johnson following a nerve gas attack there a week earlier for which Russia was believed responsible.

“There is never a justification for this type of attack—the attempted murder of a private citizen on the soil of a sovereign nation—and we are outraged that Russia appears to have again engaged in such behavior,” Tillerson said. “From Ukraine to Syria—and now the UK—Russia continues to be an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens. We agree that those responsible—both those who committed the crime and those who ordered it—must face appropriately serious consequences.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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