United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is unaware of why President Donald Trump has asked him to resign and did not speak to him about it, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said in a statement on Tuesday.
“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,” Goldstein said.
Trump, however, said that he and Tillerson disagreed on many things, including the Iran nuclear deal, following the announcement of the top diplomat’s departure from the high-ranking position.
“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 thinks it was okay.
“We wanted to either break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently.
“So we were not really thinking the same,” Trump told reporters.
Trump added that he made the decision to fire Tillerson by himself.
Trump announced that Tillerson was leaving and will be replaced with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo.
“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!” Trump wrote in a Twitter message.
A White House official said Trump wanted to make the change at the State Department ahead of expected talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and trade negotiations.
Trump reportedly asked Tillerson to resign on Friday while the secretary was in the middle of a diplomatic trip to Africa.
Tillerson cut his trip short by a day and returned to Washington, DC on Monday.
Trump plans to nominate Gina Haspel, the CIA’s Deputy Director, to take over for Pompeo.
Haspel would become the first female director in the history of the intelligence agency.
Haspel served as a clandestine officer with the CIA in 2002 in Thailand and oversaw the torture of two terrorism suspects and destruction of videotapes documenting that torture, according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture.
Both Pompeo and Haspel will need Senate confirmation before starting their new positions.