US President Donald Trump said that he and fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson disagreed on a number of issues, mainly the Iranian nuclear deal.
“Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time,” Trump said in answer to questions on the south lawn of the White House as he was about to depart for California. “We got along, actually, quite well, but we disagreed on things. 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 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo, who was nominated to replace Tillerson , Trump said: “We have a very similar thought process. I think it’s going to go very well”.
Trump, whose administration has had the highest rate of personnel turnover of any administration in memory, said he was “really at a point where we’re getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want.”
Asked if he had informed Tillerson that he was being fired, Trump said: “No, I really didn’t discuss it very much with him, honestly. I made that decision by myself. Rex wasn’t, as you know, in this country.”
Tillerson reportedly was summoned back a day early from his week-long trip to Africa, arriving in Washington on Monday. Tillerson reportedly learned of his dismissal via a presidential tweet.
“I actually got along well with Rex, but really it was a different mindset, a different thinking,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, Tillerson said he was delegating all of his responsibilities to the State Department’s No 2 official and that he would leave office at the end of the month. “What is most important is to ensure an orderly and smooth transition during a time that the country continues to face significant policy and national security challenges”. Page 14
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