Rex Tillerson out as Secretary of State, replaced by CIA director

WASHINGTON DC- MARCH 13 President Donald Trump holds a meeting with members of his cabinet including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis in the Cabinet Room of the White House

US president Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had replaced US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, and had tapped Gina Haspel to lead the CIA. "He will do a fantastic job!" he tweeted.

He continued, "Finally, I want to thank Rex Tillerson for his service".

Replacing Pompeo at the CIA will be Gina Haspel, the deputy director of the agency, reported the Washington Post.

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Trump publicly undercut Tillerson's diplomatic initiatives numerous times, including on Monday when the former secretary of state's comments about Russian Federation appeared to be at odds with those of the White House.

In a statement, Mr Trump said: "I have gotten to know Mike very well over the past 14 months, and I am confident he is the right person for the job at this critical juncture".

Tillerson's ouster was reported minutes before Trump's tweet by the Washington Post, though tensions between the two have simmered almost since Tillerson took the job in 2017.

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Pompeo said in a statement, "If confirmed, I look forward to guiding the world's finest diplomatic corps in formulating and executing the President's foreign policy".

Trump reportedly made the decision last week, summoning Tillerson home from a trip to Africa.

The New York Times quoted sources as saying Mr Trump was irritated by Mr Tillerson's body language during meetings.

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Last year, Tillerson said the United States should talk with North Korea, which Trump quickly shot down. And Tillerson once allegedly called Trump a "moron", a charge he never denied.

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