The country woke up this morning to Donald Trump’s announcement over Twitter that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was out, and CIA chief Mike Pompeo was in:
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
Reported the Huff Post:
Tillerson’s departure comes amid reports of his disappointment with the turbulent atmosphere in President Donald Trump’s White House, as well as mounting criticism of his performance as the country’s leading diplomat and his drastic reduction of civil servant positions at the State Department.
His job security had always seemed precarious, but on Nov. 30, The New York Times reported that the White House was considering forcing out Tillerson and replacing him with Pompeo.
The White House and State Department pushed back on the report, but that day, neither Trump nor White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would definitively say whether the president had confidence in Tillerson.
“He’s here. Rex is here,” Trump told reporters.
“When the president loses confidence in somebody, they’ll no longer be here,” Sanders said at that day’s White House press briefing.
While Tillerson’s departure may have been known about by Trump and his inner circle for some time, apparently Tillerson wasn’t aware of this and found out about his removal the same way we all did — via Twitter. Reported Axios:
After months of media reports about a fractured relationship between President Trump and his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump tweeted today that CIA Director Mike Pompeo will replace Tillerson as head of the State Department. The State Department issued a statement that Tillerson had not spoken to Trump and was “unaware of the reason” for his dismissal.
To his eternal credit, Tillerson has been fairly clear that he believes his former boss is a moron — something that likely factored into Trump’s decision to humiliate him like this. More than anything though, Tillerson’s departure is another example of the insanity that goes on in the White House.
The list of high profile departures and firings from Trump’s government is truly breathtaking — from National Security advisor Michael Flynn to FBI boss James Comey, Communications director Hope Hicks, Director of the National Economic Council and the chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, and Chief of Staff Reince Preibus, no one of note appears to be able to last for more than a few months (and if you are Anthony Scarammucci, 6 days). Trump simply can’t keep his administration together in any coherent fashion, and has created a revolving door style government that functions like a bootstrapped Silicon Valley startup, but without any of the talent.
While Tillerson was corrupt, almost certainly working for Russia, and completely unqualified to be Secretary of State, he wasn’t a complete idiot and did have the courage to stand up to Trump on occasion, so his departure means one less vaguely rational human in the White House. Mike Pompeo is a right wing hawk and Trump sycophant who will be less likely to push back at his boss, and more likely to get America involved in a nuclear war with whomever Trump is irritated with on any particular day. Pompeo will make the American government all the more insane at a time when sane adults are needed more than ever.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.