(RNN) - President Donald Trump announced Tuesday via Twitter that Rex Tillerson would be replaced by current CIA Director Mike Pompeo as the new secretary of state.
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
According to Washington Post, Trump asked Tillerson to resign Friday. The secretary cut short his diplomatic trip to Africa, returning to Washington, DC, on Monday.
Tillerson's team told Reuters that he returned to the U.S. to deal with urgent work. The trip to Africa was among the first high-profile visits by an administration member since Trump had reportedly referred to countries there as "s---hole countries" in January.
The secretary had met with the president of Chad on Monday, which was among the countries listed on the presidnt's travel ban. Chad's leader, Idriss Deby, expressed his bewilderment at the country being part of the ban and called it an injustice, according to the foreign minister.
Tillerson navigated storms involving Trump's decision to cease implementing the Paris Climate Accord and questions over Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The secretary and the president issued public statements contradicting the other multiple times on matters of foreign affairs, most recently with the news Trump plans to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Pompeo, confirmed as CIA director in January 2017, had served in the House as the representative from Kansas' 4th District from 2011 to 2017.
Gina Haspel, the deputy director of the CIA, is Trump's pick to take over for Pompeo. If confirmed, she would be the first female head of the intelligence agency.
The former ExxonMobil CEO’s nomination as head of the State Department passed a Senate panel by a 11-10 party line vote Jan. 23. He was approved by the full Senate on a 56-43 vote mostly along party lines on Feb. 1. The GOP holds a 52-48 margin in the Senate.
Tillerson came under scrutiny for his past business relationship with Russia President Vladimir Putin. The backers of the oil industry veteran said his ties with the Russian leader were just part of the job for a CEO of a worldwide company.
The Texas graduate in civil engineering worked 41 years at Exxon, rising from an engineer to become CEO in 2006.
Tillerson earned a Distinguished Eagle Scout designation as a youth. He is a former member of the Boy Scouts of America Executive Committee and served as national president of the Boy Scouts from 2010 to 2012.
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