Donald Trump opened this Tuesday biggest crisis of his mandate. A few days after accepting to meet face to face with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-UN, US president announced fulminant removal of his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and his replacement by director of CIA, Falcon Mike Pompeo. CIA headquarters will be occupied in turn by gloomy Gina Haspel, who oversaw tortures practiced in Thailand's secret prison. With departure of Tillerson, whose mandate has been unusually brief for a secretary of state, falls anor of moderate sector heavyweights (last week was economic adviser, Gary Cohn) and confirms once again dizzying ability of Trump to burn Equipment.More information
- Gina Haspel, first woman to lead CIA
- Mike Pompeo, a hawk to direct U.S. foreign relations
The blow was made to hear. Tillerson's dismissal had no contemplation. It was pure Trump. A tweet and out. The State Department itself, in an unusual communiqué signed by Deputy Secretary Steve Goldstein, made it known that Tillerson "had not spoken to president that morning and that he did not know reason" of removal. "The secretary had every intention to remain because of progress made in critical matters of national security," note riveted. Two hours later, Goldstein was also fired.
The fall of Tillerson has a strategic meaning. After first year of term, president faces a third of Senate in November, entire House of Representatives and 39 governorships. In face of predictable swings, Trump wants to reinforce Republican hard wing and get rid of anyone who, like Cohn or Tillerson, curbs his ultranationalist narrative.
This realignment also affects an external agenda that Trump treats as a matter of domestic politics. The tariff war has begun, North American Free Trade Agreement is on tightrope, pact with Iran must be renewed in a matter of weeks and, in an unexpected turn, president has accepted a face-to-face with North Korean despot.
In front of this explosive horizon, Trump has been guided by his instincts and has bet on those who are more faithful and close. Among m, Mike Pompeo. "With Tillerson I disagreed in some things, like agreement with Iran; Instead, Pompeo and I have similar thought processes, "Trump said.
The dismissal reaffirms something already known. With this president, cabinet has become most turbulent in history of United States. Your replacement rate is 43% and re is no month when you don't drop a high charge. The account was opened by National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who only stayed 24 days in his post, and was followed by chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and chief strategist, Steve Bannon, among ors. Under this gale, dismissal of Secretary of State was discounted.
Tillerson, former skipper of oil giant Exxon, crashed since first weeks with president. Thoughtful and accustomed to long-term agreements, his management was continually shaken by Trump style and his untimely tweets. The bad relationship was evident when in July it leaked that, after a dispute in Oval Office, Tillerson, desperate, had told his team that Trump was a "stupid". A statement that never completely denied, and that led president to publicly humiliate him with following comment: "I believe it is false information; But if you said so, n I guess we'll have to compare our IQ's. And I can assure who's going to win. "
The contempt transcended personal. Donald Trump imposed his steamroller on State Department where he could. He cut his budget 30% and, on every possible occasion, showed his displeasure with Tillerson guidelines.
It happened with its commitment to a dialogue with North Korea, which in its day president considered "a waste of time"; But also with Paris agreement against climate change, with relationship with Moscow, with tariff war and with nuclear pact with Iran, latter being last one that secretary of state saved with a harsh penalty thanks to support of national security adviser and S Defense Ecretario.
The disagreements were so notorious that y had turned 65-year-old Tillerson into a walking corpse. In Washington term Rexit (of Rex and Brexit) was coined to refer to its imminent march and was openly spoken of its substitution by Pompeo. The lack of charisma and scant support provided by diplomatic corps, for whom it never ceased to be a stranger, increased a sense of provisionality that precipitated with face-to-face that president decided to maintain with North Korean supreme leader. This was, according to American media, straw that filled glass.
Trump received last Thursday at White House South Korean emissaries who had interviewed Kim Jong-UN and transferred his offer of direct dialogue. To surprise of those present, President accepted challenge without consulting anyone and also ordered that Seoul's own legacy would be in charge of announcing it in White House. Only once decision was taken, Tillerson was informed.
The Secretary of State was in Africa travelling and coup, immense contempt of his council and offices of diplomatic corps, left him stunned. So much so that, according to American media, he had to cancel all his activities on grounds of sudden discomfort. There was no mercy. Five days later, Trump announced on Twitter his removal.
Your replacement. Mike Pompeo, is an upward figure in White House. Former Tea Party member, defender of death penalty for Edward Snowden and hammer of Democratic heretics, his expository clarity and division of world into friends and foes is greatly appreciated by President, with whom he shares ruthless manners.
This fondness became apparent yesterday, when announcing crisis of government, Trump extolled in a statement his figure: "I've come to know Mike very well in last 14 months and I'm sure he is right person for this critical juncture. He will continue our American restoration program (...) and seeking denuclearization of North Korea. " Tillerson didn't even call him to explain before he fired him.
Mike Pompeo, Director of CLA, 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 new Director of CIA, and first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018 The latest speech by most ephemeral secretary of state
The silence pointed to Donald Trump more than any word. In his farewell, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson broke molds and did not mention president. He went to nation with a speech laden with Allies and thanks to diplomatic corps. He had words of affection for Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, and alert to "problematic behavior" of Russia. But Trump said nothing.
He didn't criticize him eir. Unlike President, who in morning had aired his differences with Tillerson on Iran and North Korea, Secretary of State preferred to avoid melee, and to show with omission his anger. After discussing world politics, he unveiled details of his departure, basically, that he will remain in office until 31 March and that Deputy secretary John Sullivan was going to take over transition.
It wasn't an easy speech. On more than one occasion his voice shook. For many, he had been humiliated as few secretaries of state have been before. Although chief of Cabinet, General John Kelly, alerted him last Friday of what could happen, Trump only called him three hours after announcing to world his dismissal with a tweet and his replacement by Falcon Mike Pompeo.
Tillerson, with 14 months in post, has been one of briefest chiefs of Diplomacy in history of United States, in which only 15 or appointees spent less time in department, but none of m left for dismissal. Looking back from early twentieth century, always excluding interim secretaries or relieved by a change of government, it also seems not only one of shortest, but only struck that has lasted so little.
Edmund Muskie only occupied plaza from May 1980 to January 20, 1981, just over six months, but his farewell came when Republican Ronald Reagan arrived at White House. The predecessor, Democrat Jimmy Carter, had named him at a fateful moment, after several interims, when Cyrus Vance resigned in 1980, in protest of military rescue operation of American hostages in Iran, an action that failed and had been Determined against his judgment.
It was also brief, though not so much as Tillerson, successor of Muskie, Alexander Haig, secretary of state between January 81 and July 82. Nixon's chief of staff at time of Watergate, he was appointed by Reagan, but he became increasingly isolated and ended up resigning.