In surprise tweet, Trump ousts Tillerson as secretary of state

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday and said he would nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him, putting an ardent foe of the Iran nuclear deal in charge of U.S. diplomacy as Trump also dives into high-stakes talks with North Korea. “We disagreed on things,” Trump said of Tillerson just after announcing the firing on Twitter. He mentioned differences over how to handle the Iran-nuclear deal, which Trump wanted to withdraw from. “So we were not really thinking the same.” Though Trump and other officials said he’d been considering replacing Tillerson for some time, the president said he made the decision only recently and “by myself.” Tillerson will be “much happier now,” Trump said. Word of Trump’s dissatisfaction with Tillerson and plans to replace him with Pompeo had circulated for months, even as Tillerson insisted he didn’t plan to leave and that he knew of no plans for his ouster. Rumors about friction between Trump and Tillerson increased last fall with reports that Tillerson had called the president a “moron” while meeting with other officials. The changes come as Trump considers whether to withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 Iran deal that Pompeo has called “disastrous.” Tillerson had long pushed Trump to remain in the agreement and had been pursuing a delicate strategy with European allies and others to try to improve or augment it to Trump’s liking. The president said he was nominating the CIA’s deputy director, Gina Haspel, to… [Read full story]

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