President Donald Trump is telling reporters that he made the decision to oust embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "by myself". No surprises there, knives have been out between the two almost from Day One. Rex Tillerson's sacking has little to do with policy and much more to do with personal animosity over months of acrimonious exchanges. Trump takes a special kind of pleasure in letting sacked bureaucrats get to know abut the indignity on telly or Twitter. Ditto with James Comey, former FBI chief, last summer. In the latest case, also consider Trump's need to zap the news cycle out of the Stormy Daniels storyline which he was simply unable to counter. Trump's need and skill at dominating the headlines with his custom tailored lines have always been central to his campaign, his Presidency so far and today's developments. After the Florida massacre, Trump sucked all the oxygen out of the Opposition with his plan to oppose the NRA, his tack follows the same pattern he adopted after the Access Hollywood tapes came out - Think "bigly", keep the message directionally correct with one "bigly" claim that makes the message remarkable. In sacking Tillerson, Trump has wiped the Stormy Daniels story out of the morning chat shows, her lawyer will be forced to come back with something juicier than the red meat of the Tillerson sacking - no break-up text, just a break-up tweet with Tillerson a deer in the headlights after a 4 am touch down in Washington D.C., just back from a hastily cut short Africa trip.
Also, what does it mean when you break up on Twitter? It means there's no relationship here, the Secretary of State of the United States of America did not have the President's ear and the whole world knew about it for months now. On at least four occasions, America, its allies and onlookers could tell that the split between the two alpha males was just a matter of time. Now, with the Pompeo induction, Trump has military men all around him on all matters of state.
Trump is adding that Tillerson will be "much happier now," code for the badly kept secret that the two men rarely saw eye to eye on any issue. Tillerson reportedly referred to Trump as a "moron" last year and Trump has hit back repeatedly on foreign policy, most recently in announcing the meeting with North Korean leader Kim hours after Tillerson said this was not on the horizon. Last year, Trump told Tillerson not to bother “wasting his time" with North Korea diplomacy. Barely two days ago, the White House was at pains to explain how involved Tillerson has been in the entire North Korea diplomatic process. That's a White House that's been plunged into unparalleled turmoil trying to chin up. Bottom line is this - nothing matters more in the Trump system than complete loyalty. For everybody else, this below doodle is the typical life cycle:
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) March 13, 2018
Trump says he and Tillerson had been "talking about this for a long time," and they had disagreed on issues like the Iran deal. White House sources are telling reporters that Trump wanted to hit refresh before the upcoming North Korea talks.
Trump is now praising the energy and intellect of his incoming Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who has led the CIA.
The President spoke to reporters at the White House shortly before departing for Joint Base Andrews for his trip to California.
Meanwhile, as the shock sinks in across Washington D.C, a top State Department official says President Donald Trump never explained to ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the reason why he was fired.
The undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, Steve Goldstein, says Tillerson "had every intention of staying" in the job because he felt he was making critical progress in national security. Two White House officials said Tillerson was told he was out on Friday. The sources weren't authorized to speak publicly and demanded anonymity.
But Goldstein says Tillerson "did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason."
Pompeo is to be replaced at CIA by Gina Haspel, Pompeo's deputy at CIA. She would be the first woman in that role.
Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before Trump's announcement. Trump offered no explanation for the change. We're hearing that Trump's chief of staff John Kelly gave Tillerson a "heads up" on the coming change.
(With news wire inputs)
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Updated Date: Mar 13, 2018 23:41:02 IST