Rex Tillerson, the Texas oil man who has served as President Trump’s secretary of state since February 2017, has been fired.
“Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
Trump later told The Associated Press that the decision to fire Tillerson was his own, adding that the ousted secretary of state will be “much happier now.”
It’s unclear when Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, was fired. White House officials have said that he was notified of his departure Friday.
But Tillerson, who only landed in Washington D.C., early Tuesday morning after a trip to Africa, was reportedly unaware that he was being removed until he saw Trump’s tweet, according to NBC News.
Speculation about Tillerson’s departure has been rampant for the last few months. In December, Trump tweeted that those rumors were “FAKE NEWS,” and said that he and Tillerson work well together despite disagreeing “on certain subjects.”
Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director, will take Tillerson’s place, according to Trump.
Gina Haspel has been appointed as CIA boss, and if confirmed, will be the first woman to serve in the role.