Heads are rolling at the White House, and it’s not just former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s head rolling off the chopping block. In addition to Tillerson, his “top spokesman” Steve Goldstein was also fired, and according to CNBC, he was fired for contradicting the reasoning behind Tillerson’s departure.
‘Goldstein had said that Tillerson had not spoken directly about the move with the president.
‘NBC News reported that Tillerson had learned of hir firing from Trump’s tweet.’
Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted:
‘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 idea that Tillerson learned of his dismissal via tweet is not all that far-fetched. Former FBI Director James Comey learned of his dismissal in very much the same way.
Goldstein’s statement regarding the firing basically dropped it all on Trump saying Tillerson never had any plans to leave the State Dept.
‘The Secretary had every intention of staying, because of critical progress made in national security.
‘He will miss his colleagues at the Department of State and the foreign ministers that he’s worked with throughout the world.
‘The Secretary did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason.
‘He is grateful for the opportunity to serve and believes public service is a noble calling. He wishes secretary-designate Pompeo well.’
The Associated Press also confirmed the firing of Goldstein happened shortly after he released the statement.
‘The officials said Steve Goldstein, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, was informed of the move shortly after he released a statement in his name saying that Tillerson was “unaware of the reason” for his termination. Goldstein had also told reporters that Tillerson learned of his firing Tuesday morning from Trump’s tweet announcing he was nominating CIA chief Mike Pompeo to lead the State Department.’
Tillerson and Trump’s relationship has been rocky for several months. Back in December, rumors swirled that Tillerson would be fired or quit. Trump even addressed that back in December tweeting:
‘The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon – FAKE NEWS! He’s not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!’
The move to fire Tillerson (and his top aide) comes after several statements from Tillerson contradicted the president. One of those issues was the Iran Deal. Trump has continuously promised to break the agreement; however, Tillerson advised against that. Mike Pompeo, on the other hand, supports that idea.
The news was met with surprise and concern. Deputy foreign minister Michael Roth of Germany commented:
‘The firing of Rex Tillerson won’t make things better.’
Thomas Oppermann, the deputy speaker of Parliament, also remarked Tillerson’s firing made Trump look “capricious and erratic.”
Featured image by Hector Vivas/Getty Images.