On Tuesday morning, the president took to his usual form of social media – Twitter – to make the announcement that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was out the door, which was news to him too. Trump then announced that his plan was to replace Tillerson with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
According to John Kelly, Tillerson was actually told on Friday that Trump was going to fire him. Apparently, though, once aboard Air Force One with the president, Kelly was quite angry about the White House being in such chaos. According to POLITICO:
‘The resulting news coverage, which focused on disarray and disagreement in the Trump administration, left Kelly yelling at a television screen aboard Air Force One as he took off for California with the president, according to a person with knowledge of the events.’
Two administration officials said they knew Tillerson’s dismissal was coming, but not quite when it was going to happen. POLITICO reported:
‘Trump informed some associates of his decision on Monday evening, telling them that he wanted Tillerson gone — and his successor, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, in — before any meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a summit Trump agreed to in another surprise move last week after an invitation extended via South Korean diplomats.’
According to POLITICO:
‘Yet Tuesday’s scene was par for the course in Trump’s White House. Kelly himself was elevated to his current job in a Trump tweet sent from Air Force One as his first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, sat on the tarmac outside the plane.
‘Kelly informed Tillerson of the president’s decision in a brief conversation on Friday, according to two White House aides. Tillerson, then still overseas, asked that the president hold off until he returned to the country.’
The State Department claims this is not the case though. The department made a public announcement saying that Tillerson only learned of his firing through Trump’s tweet on Tuesday morning. Tillerson was also unclear regarding the reason. Steve Goldstein, the State Department official who issued the statement which quickly fired by the White House.
Learning about a firing through a tweet is not uncommon in Trump’s White House. When the president fired Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on Twitter, it was only then that Kelly learned that he would take the place of Priebus.
Trump told reporters on Tuesday:
‘Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time. We got along actually quite well but we disagreed on things. When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible; I guess he thought it was OK.’
One huge mistake for Tillerson was that in an NBC News report last October, it was reported that he privately referred to Trump as a “moron.” Tillerson did not deny the report.
Tillerson can blame who he wants to for the mess the White House has become. However, the only reason there is “disarray and disagreement” is because of Donald Trump himself and his total incompetence.
Featured image by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images