Donald Trump

Trump to Rex Tillerson: Someone Has Told You That You're Fired!

Secretary of State replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who is replaced by torture aficionado Gina Haspel.


Rex Tillerson, the Where's Waldo of the Trump administration's divided foreign policy shop, has been fired as secretary of state and replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. According to the president, part of the reason was a difference of approach on the Iran-nuclear agreement. "We were not thinking the same," Trump told reporters. "With Mike Pompeo, we have a similar thought process."

The president's thought process about eighty-sixing Tillerson is likely to come under scrutiny, since the existing timeline doesn't make sense. White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said today that Tillerson was informed Friday. The State Department, meanwhile, says the secretary found out today, from reading this Trump tweet:

Trump later told reporters that Tillerson will be "much happier now."

We're older than that now ||| Michael Reynolds/CNP/AdMedia/Newscom
Michael Reynolds/CNP/AdMedia/Newscom

Steve Goldstein, State Department undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, has released this statement: "The secretary did not speak to the president 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. The secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security. He will miss his colleagues at the Department of State and the foreign ministers he has worked with throughout the world."

Tillerson, a government newbie who had spent the previous four decades at ExxonMobil, seemed frequently out of sync and even out of touch with the mercurial president. Yesterday, for example, Tillerson said that the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in London was "an egregious act" that "clearly came from Russia," which was in sharp contrast to Huckabee Sanders' repeated reluctance to point the finger at Moscow. Last week, too, the secretary of state was clearly out of the loop when Trump decided to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. (Last October, in a reversal of those positions, the president said Tillerson was "wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.")

Pompeo, a former congressman and Army tank officer, is seen as much more hawkish than Tillerson. He supports the bulk collection of Americans' metadata, the use of CIA black sites, enhanced interrogation methods, and the execution of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Pompeo's replacement at the CIA, his former deputy Gina Haspel, had a "leading role in torture" during the Bush administration, according to this New York Times profile. Back when Tillerson/Pompeo rumors were heating up three months ago, the Weekly Standard pointed out that Haspel's prominence soothed some agency nerves frayed by Trump's sporadically intemperate criticisms.

So the out-of-touch realist is out at Foggy Bottom, the partisan pro-surveillance hawk is in, and Langley is now run by an in-house torturer. Meanwhile, Trump's personal assistant, John McEntee, has reportedly been escorted out of the White House due to security reasons. In other words, it's a normal Tuesday morning.

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  1. Trump later told reporters that Tillerson will be “much happier now.”

    This cracked me up. I don’t know why.

    1. That’s the first believable thing Trump has ever said.

    2. For one thing, he can go back to a real job an the pay he’s accustomed to.


    3. It’s nice to see the caring, father-figure side of Trump rather than the cold, Apprentice-esque side.

  2. enhanced interrogation methods

    These eupehmisms

    1. Thanks for noting this. Back before every single political issue was decided by tribal affiliation, conservatives objected to torture. Now we have an advocate of the practice in charge of the agency most likely to administer it.

      (Breitbart Columnists, here is your column for next Monday: “Feminists Are Hypocrites For Complaining About Trump, Who Appointed A Woman Chief Of CIA.”)

      1. Everyone opposes torture. Water boarding as practiced by the Bush administration did not amount to “torture” and the only reason you believe it is “torture” is because of your “tribal affiliation”. Use your brain instead of believing everything you read in the NYTimes!

        1. Exactly. Many military personnel have been waterboarded as a part of training just as most LEOs are tazed as part of their certification training to use the device.

      2. I think torture is usually not that effective. Many pros agree on this. Water boarding is pretty much torture. I don’t think the US government should condone torture on the regular… BUT I think if a military officer/CIA/whoever were to bust it out under extreme circumstances on a foreign national, that it would be okay to look the other direction. I mean some guys would rather rat on their terrorist buddies than have their balls cut off or something, ya know? I’m not gonna lose sleep over it.

        It’s not logically consistent or anything, but I think that’s reasonable.

  3. seemed frequently out of sync and even out of touch with the mercurial president.

    “Mercurial” = “fucking moron” to Rex.

  4. “Last week, too, the secretary of state was clearly out of the loop when Trump decided to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. (Last October, in a reversal of those positions, the president said Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”)

    If Trump moving to Tillerson’s position on meeting with North Korea doesn’t explain why Tilerson was given the elbow, then it’s probably something else!

    Sometimes, when you don’t click with one of the people on your team, it’s just a personality thing or you don’t sleep well at night wondering whether that guy really gets it. You can change team members for just that reason–everywhere but government, I guess.

    As far as the timing not working out, I’m not sure what that means. Are you saying it’s strange that Trump informed the guy that was gonna replace Tilerson before he informed Tilerson that he was fired? If Trump did that, it just means that he probably didn’t fire Tilerson for any particular reason–other than he wants Mike Pompeo in that job instead.

    We’re not crying for Tilerson, here, are we? Managers in the private sector get fired for reasons that were beyond their control all the time. Tilerson may have to spend a long weekend in one of his many beach houses to get over it, but he’ll be fine, I’m sure.

    1. You can change team members for just that reason–everywhere but government, I guess

      Trump’s White House is running a turnover rate higher than Trump’s White Castle.

      But hey – obviously since he’s the Prez he’s just a victim of coercive gummint regulations re hiring/firing labor.

      Wotta freaking moron.

    2. I’ve actually thought about this pre Trump. You ever notice how people almost NEVER get fired from government positions before their “turn” is up? It’s totally because the whole thing is based on it being a favor for past help, or future help, it being their “turn” (like Hillary), and just straight up back scratching.

      IMO people getting brought in and fired is a good thing. If they ain’t gettin’ shit handled, can them.

  5. in terms of encouraging a more widespread, realistic understanding of politics, there is at least one benefit of regnum trumpi: it’s more obvious that when power-wielding sociopaths disagree, the least inhibited guy with the most power wins

  6. Having a more successful businessman around gave Trump the sads.

  7. A woman will run the CIA for the first time? Normally we left-libertarians celebrate diversity, but it wasn’t supposed to happen like this.

    1. The fact that any random horrible person is also a member of a protected class does not mean that diversity is a bad idea. Being female does not overcome being in favor of torture.

      1. Everyone is well aware that the diversity for the sake of diversity crowd only cares about diversity so long as there is no diversity of thought.

  8. Donny “fucking moron” Trumpty Dumpty fired Rexxon. Does that surprise anyone? I bet the North Koreans have become a little more concerned… has 90% of the US, most likely.

    1. McMaster is next.

      Somehow a few rational people crept into this clusterfuck of an administration (Cohn, Tillerson, McMaster) but they will all be gone soon.

  9. Instead of staff signing their resignation form when they start. They should make a video of Trump telling them “you’re fired”.

  10. Trump said he’d have the best people in charge. He just didn’t mention that finding the best people was going to be a trial-and-error process. It’s almost as if Trump doesn’t actually vet anybody, he just sticks a random person in a random job and figures he’ll give them a chance to see what they can do and if they don’t work out he can get rid of them and let somebody else take a whack at it. He doesn’t actually know who the best people are, he’s just giving them a chance to show they’re the best people. I wonder if he ever considers that the American people stuck him in the Oval Office much the same way.

    1. Trump has never hired anyone worth a shit in his little family run business. Why would he know talent?

    2. This is frequently how it works in business. Pay attention to major companies and their C level executives. They bring in people who MAY be okay, try them for a bit, and if they don’t like the results they fire their asses. You’ll see all kinds of top level people who did 1 or 2 year stints at Fortune 500 companies.

      It’s not a bad way to do it. You obviously make an educated guess when you put people in, but sometimes even good people just aren’t the right fit. Tillerson seemed like a legit dude, but I did wonder how well he would do in the position he got. He would have been better for some business/domestic regulation related position IMO.

  11. Axedhik without even a phone call? Cold blooded. Seems rather petty.

    1. Fired via Twitter? Trump is an innovator!

      1. Sooooo much more advanced and high tech than firing through text!

  12. This post should probably be updated to reflect that Goldstein was also fired almost immediately after making the statement about Tillerson’s firing:…..ite-house/

  13. Tillerson was a gobalist. Good riddance.

    1. Good that he’s out, but a net loss considering his replacement.

  14. Remember the last time a CIA stooge was elevated? Crash, Depression, Death Sentence over plant leaves? But putting gal in charge of the CIA is a tug on the beard of any Saracen Berserker for iSlam! Remember iSlam? Prophets before Profits? They used to be famous…

  15. That is extremely irresponsible to quote the NYTimes in order to get the word “torture” into the article. We know water boarding was not “torture” thanks to the memos released by Obama.

    Tillerson is a Neocon Bush sycophant that was recommended to Trump by Condi Rice and had no business being SoS in Trump’s administration.

    1. “That is extremely irresponsible to quote the NYTimes in order to get the word ‘torture’ into the article. We know water boarding was not ‘torture’ thanks to the memos released by Obama.”

      I recommend you get some personal experience being water-boarded before you offer your opinion on what “we” know.

      1. Tell you what, I will agree to be water boarded if you agree to spend 10 years in solitary confinement like KSM.

      2. We, who have been waterboarded as part of training, do know that it is no more torture than other training our military have been through.

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  17. Germany issuing arrest warrants for Americans for torturing people? Now there’s a laugh.

    1. Hey man, they’ve cucked out soooo hard in the last few decades that it EASILY makes up for the thousands of years of atrocities they committed in Europe against Jews, Poles, Russians, French, Romans, etc. So they totally have the high ground now and stuff.

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