The news was filled this morning with the surprise announcement that Rex Tillerson, the former oil executive Donald Trump appointed as Secretary of State, had been removed in favor of Mike Pompeo, who to this point had been running the CIA. This morning, Trump remarked on the decision, and made a few claims about the nature of the decision. The validity of those claims, however, was almost immediately thrown into question.
In brief remarks to the press corps after announcing the firing on Twitter, Trump claimed that he was doing this more for Tillerson’s sake than his own:
“Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time….I made that decision by myself, I think Rex will be much happier now.”
However, this directly contradicts a statement, also issued on Twitter, on December 1st:
And it doesn’t seem to align with the rest of the administration’s reaction. Tillerson reportedly learned the President would ask for his resignation at the same time the press did. Tillerson was reportedly in the middle of sensitive national security work, and clearly wasn’t expecting to be dismissed. It’s unclear whether Mike Pompeo had been appraised of his transfer, as well. Also curious is the timing, as Tillerson had, just yesterday, broken with the Trump administration’s refusal to acknowledge Russia was involved in a chemical weapons attack on British soil.