Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonFormer WH adviser: Trump will want to rejoin Paris climate pact by 2020 Why the US should lead on protecting Rohingya Muslims ‘Bolivarian Diaspora’ can no longer be ignored MORE did not speak to President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out ‘subversion’ at VA MORE before his firing and is “unaware” of the reason behind his dismissal, according to a statement from Tillerson’s top deputy.
The statement from Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein strongly suggests Tillerson found out about his firing from Twitter.
“The Secretary did not speak to the President this morning and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling and not to be regretted,” Goldstein said in a statement.
Goldstein also said that Tillerson had “every intention of staying” before his firing.
“He established and enjoyed relationships with his counterparts. He will miss his colleagues at the Department of State and enjoyed working together with the Department of Defense in an uncommonly robust relationship,” he said.
“We wish Secretary Designate Pompeo well,” the statement concluded, referring to CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe CIA may need to call White House to clarify Russia meddling Intel agencies to brief officials from all 50 states on election threats Russia probe complicating House hearing on threats facing US: report MORE, whom Trump tapped to succeed Tillerson.
WOW: Tillerson had “every intention of staying… did not speak to the President and is unaware of the reason,” according to Under Sec of State Goldstein. pic.twitter.com/3i4PDIE4fT
— Conor Finnegan (@cjf39) March 13, 2018
Trump fired Tillerson on Tuesday, confirming the move on Twitter.
In comments outside the White House, he heaped praise on Pompeo and alluded to differences with Tillerson, noting their disagreements on Iran.
“When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible. I guess he thought it was okay,” Trump said. “I wanted to either break it or do something, and he felt a little bit differently. So we were really not thinking the same.”
“I’m really at a point where we’re getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want,” Trump said. “But I think Mike Pompeo will be a truly great secretary of State. I have total confidence in him.”