Tillerson says goodbye, to step down March 31
March 14, 2018 | 1:00 PM
by Times News Service

Washington D.C.: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was fired by President Donald Trump on Tuesday, 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," Tillerson told reporters in a packed briefing room at the State Department.

Trump fired Tillerson after a series of public rifts over policy on North Korea, Russia and Iran, replacing his chief diplomat with loyalist CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The biggest shakeup of Trump's Cabinet since he took office in January 2017 was announced by the president on Twitter as his administration works toward a meeting with the leader of North Korea.

Trump chose the CIA's deputy director, Gina Haspel, to replace Pompeo at the intelligence agency. She is a veteran CIA clandestine officer backed by many in the U.S. intelligence community but regarded warily by some in Congress for her involvement in the agency's "black site" detention facilities.

Tillerson's departure capped months of friction between the Republican president and the 65-year-old former Exxon Mobil chief executive. The tensions peaked last fall amid reports Tillerson had called Trump a "moron" and considered resigning.

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