News Analysis |
Donald Trump has fired his secretary of state Rex Tillerson and replaced him with Mike Pompeo, who was previously the CIA director. The new CIA director will be Gina Haspel, a career intelligence officer.
The president and Tillerson didn’t see eye to eye on a number of issues. There were times where Tillerson contradicted statements and tweets made by Donald Trump. It was widely believed that Trump may make such a move. Tillerson himself said once that he might serve in public office for about a year only. It is not clear why Trump has fired Tillerson and, according to news reports, the president hasn’t spoken to Tillerson about it.
Gina Haspel joined the CIA in 1985. With a 30-year career in the intelligence service, she is respected and well-known among CIA officials. Haspel also ran several black sites and was involved in coercive interrogation programmes run by the CIA and is accused of destroying tapes that provided evidence for those programmes.
The Trump administration has been a revolving door for staffers. There has been at least one staff change each month under Trump, either by firing or resignation. Before Rex Tillerson, senior advisor to Trump on economy, Gary Cohen, resigned in protest against Trump’s decisions to hike tariffs on steel and alumunium. Before that, white house communications director Hope Hicks resigned after serving for nearly six months.
In a press conference, Trump explained that he has great respect for Rex Tillerson and the reason for his firing is a difference of opinion on key issues such as the Iran deal. Trump also praised his choice for director CIA and the new secretary of state.
There have been some concerns that Trump is under undue influence from military officials at the White House. His chief of staff, his secretary of defense and his national security advisor are all military men. Tillerson, perhaps, stood out in senior members of the Trump administration.