Trump Fires Long-Suffering Rex Tillerson, Names Mike Pompeo to Secretary of State

President Donald Trump asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to step down Friday and nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo as the nation’s new top diplomat Tuesday morning.

The Cabinet shakeup ends an often tumultuous tenure for Tillerson at the State Department, as well as a terse and publicly difficult relationship with a president who often used social media to undercut foreign policy. Tillerson was on a diplomatic trip to Africa at the time Trump asked him to step down.

Trump famously called out Tillerson in October for attempts to stoke more diplomatic talks with North Korea over its increasing missile and nuclear defense tests. The Republican said Tillerson was “wasting his time” speaking with North leader Kim Jong Un.

Speculation over Tillerson’s possible departure increased days after that incident when reports indicated Tillerson had called Trump a “moron” during a Pentagon meeting in July. Tillerson reportedly wanted to quit over the president's heavily politicized and widely panned speech before the Boy Scouts' national jamboree last year but was talked down by Vice President Mike Pence. Still, Tillerson never outright denied insulting the president.

Now the president has removed a first-time diplomat in favor of a more politically seasoned replacement in Pompeo as the U.S. prepares for a possible face-to-face meeting between Trump and Kim.

Trump made the announcement on his official Twitter account while thanking Tillerson, a former head of ExxonMobil, for his service. Current Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel will replace Pompeo, making her the first woman to lead the global intelligence agency, according to The Washington Post.

“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. 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!,” the president tweeted.

Trump praised Pompeo's background as a former military service member who rose to political office and eventually to head the CIA.

“I am proud to nominate the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, to be our new Secretary of State,” the president said in a statement to the Post. “Mike graduated first in his class at West Point, served with distinction in the U.S. Army, and graduated with Honors from Harvard Law School. He went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives with a proven record of working across the aisle.”