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Trump's State, CIA picks face confirmation fights in Senate

15 March 2018

On Tuesday, it was the turn of the hapless Rex Tillerson to go for the high jump as the president tweeted out his firing as secretary of state.

He said he was nominating the CIA's deputy director, Gina Haspel, to take over for Pompeo at the intelligence agency.

Menendez told reporters Tuesday that the State Department has lacked stability at a time when Trump's "bombast against diplomacy undermines the very essence of what our people can do overseas".

"The worry about it is first, just more chaos from an administration that wants to cut diplomacy funding, that won't send us ambassadorial nominees, that sends out insane tweets, even about the leaders of our friendly nations, much less our adversaries", said Kaine.

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"I think on (the) one hand you can say it's not a good sign in terms of diplomacy, just because Pompeo seems a little bit more hard on North Korea than Tillerson", Sue Mi Terry, senior fellow for Korea at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the same forum.

But Tillerson was marginally sane on the Iran deal and wary of Trump's impulsive actions on North Korea. Trump was reportedly particularly irked with Tillerson over his negative news coverage, according to the Post.

The sacking of his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, had been predicted in Washington for some months, although the man himself appeared confident he could hold on.

On "The Late Show", Stephen Colbert made fun of the news in his show's opening monologue by highlighting the ending line of Trump's now infamous tweet, "Congratulations to all".

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And, as Trump noted Tuesday, he and Pompeo have a "similar thought process" on the Iran deal, which Trump has threatened to abandon unless there are significant changes by May.

But diplomats also expressed disquiet over Pompeo, whose origins as a former tea party congressman from Kansas leave a long paper trail of inflammatory comments about Islam, torture and hard-line positions that clash with the typical ethos of the Foreign Service. It also comes just hours after Tillerson returned from a tour of Africa and a day after Tillerson came out blaming the Russians for poisoning a former spy and his daughter. Additional details regarding confirmation hearings will be forthcoming from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. "I think Rex is much happier now". He never mentioned Trump once, and his speech included two coded messages: "I tried to the best of my ability to stop the president's troubling foreign policy, now it is for the generals to continue the battle".

As Trump prepared to depart for California yesterday he responded, "We got along, actually, quite well but we disagreed on things". But it looks like he was called back due to questions around President Trump's potential meeting with [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un.

"President Trump is determined to prevent that from happening in North Korea", Pompeo told CBS.

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Trump's State, CIA picks face confirmation fights in Senate