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Tillerson and Trump: Star-crossed from the Start

14 March 2018

President Donald Trump says policy disagreements were behind his decision to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Tilllerson and Trump had been at odds over their opinions on the Iran nuclear deal and the handling of diplomatic relations with North Korea, with Trump saying the two "felt a little bit differently, so we were not really thinking the same".

Both are considered to be among of the strongest supporters of diplomacy now on the scene in Western governments, even though Tillerson's position frequently clashed with the White House and was undermined by a rocky personal relationship with Trump.

Gina Haspel, Trump's new nominee for Central Intelligence Agency director, was a key figure in former President George W. Bush's enhanced interrogation program. Now he's fired the secretary of state in favor of CIA Director Mike Pompeo, opting for someone who's more in tune with Trump's world view. Blessing said he believes the president will have Pompeo play on his knowledge of North Korea and Russian Federation.

"He will have an appreciation of Canada on the security side, and we will now do our efforts to remind him on the economic side", Robertson said during an interview with CBC News.

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The Texan's last day as secretary will be March 31, when he just might breathe a big sigh of relief. Pompeo was brought into the White House Friday after returning from an overseas trip and was offered the job formally by phone Saturday. Hours later, he was sacked, too.

Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein, in a statement, made clear that Tillerson was caught off guard by his ouster. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor notorious for exposing information about US surveillance programs and living in exile in Russian Federation because of it, is asking the Trump administration how they can live with themselves over this choice.

Trump in recent days has told confidants that he feels emboldened, confident in his decisions to order new global trade on tariffs and to meet with Kim Jong Un and far less willing to put up with disloyalty around him, according to a person who has spoken to the president in recent days but was not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations. After hours of bureaucratic tug-of-war, Tillerson, in his final somber turn before the cameras, said he would be delegating his responsibilities to deputy secretary John Sullivan at the end of the workday and would resign effective at the end of the month.

A respected figure in the oil business, the 65-year-old Texan's tenure at the State Department drew scorn from Trump's opponents, from former diplomats and from the Washington policy elite.

The President clarified his decisions in an official statement. That stance was echoed on Tuesday by the USA general who heads the US military command responsible for the Middle East and Central Asia.

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But this is the Trump White House, where controversy is never far away.

Blessing said he believes the move also adds ammunition for the president's critics.

"Any officials negotiating with the Europeans right now will get a much more aggressive set of requirements from Pompeo", said Richard Nephew, a former White House and State Department official who worked on Iran during the Obama administration.

But Pompeo has also gone against Trump on some issues.

Mr Trump said he and Mr Tillerson "disagreed on things" and cited their differing opinions on the Iran nuclear deal.

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Tillerson and Trump: Star-crossed from the Start