U.S. President Donald Trump has sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, replacing him with the director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo.
“Mike Pompeo, director of the CIA, will become our new secretary of state. He will do a fantastic job,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!” the president added.
A senior White House official told the BBC about the timing of the announcement: “The president wanted to make sure to have his new team in place in advance of the upcoming talks with North Korea and various ongoing trade negotiations.”
Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Tuesday, Trump said his differences with Tillerson came down to personal “chemistry”.
“We got along actually quite well, but we disagreed on things,” said the president.
“When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible. I guess he thought it was OK.
“I wanted to either break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently, so we were not really thinking the same.
“With Mike, Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process. I think it’s going to go very well.
“Rex is a very good man I like Rex a lot.”
It is unclear what the secretary of state’s exit means for other top Cabinet officials. Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly forged a “suicide pact” in which the others would resign if Trump tried to remove one of them.