Pompeo and Circumstance: A 'Rexit' State of Affairs


A look at Mike Pompeo: from Kansas representative and CIA Director to secretary of state.

President Donald Trump unceremoniously dumped Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday - by tweet - and picked CIA Director Mike Pompeo to take his place, abruptly ending Tillerson's turbulent tenure as America's top diplomat and escalating the administration's chaotic second-year shake-up. Tillerson also stressed that "U.S. leadership starts with diplomacy".

Pompeo forged a close relationship with Trump as a regular presence in his presidential daily briefing.

The architect of Trump's nationalist-populist campaign and his election victory, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was nicknamed the Prince of Darkness and the Shadow President.

Critics said the move would sow more instability in the volatile Trump administration and marks the departure of another moderate who sought to emphasise the United States' strong ties to its allies amid Trump's criticism.

"The odds of them coming up with a thoughtful compromise by May just got a lot longer", he added. And last fall, Trump and Tillerson disagreed on whether to certify Iran's compliance with the terms of the so-called "nuclear deal" (JCPOA). "I think it's going to go very well", Trump said.

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Back on TV after her White House gig, Manigault Newman recently warned on "Celebrity Big Brother" that the USA would "not be OK" under Trump, prompting White House spokesman Raj Shah to respond: "Omarosa was sacked three times on 'The Apprentice.' And this was the fourth time we let her go".

Iran agreed before Trump took office to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions. The United States, he says, should make "no concessions" in any negotiations.

FILE - Sedjeel, an Iranian made ballistic missile, is showcased during an annual military parade in Tehran, Iran, Sept, 22, 2013.

In the meantime, he will meet with State Department career and diplomatic staff to "ensure a smooth, orderly transition" for incoming nominee Mr Pompeo.

Tillerson also said that "much work remains to respond to the troubling behavior and actions on the part of the Russian government", and warned that Russia could face "greater isolation on their part, a situation which is not in anyone's interest".

Similarly, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who has also called on Trump to consider exiting the deal, said he will "enthusiastically support" Pompeo's nomination in a statement today. "He is what matters here".

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Photo Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director, testifying on Capitol Hill in February.

"Pompeo was a hawk on Iran".

"She does bring continuity after Pompeo", said the former senior intelligence official, noting the two were in accord on strengthening the agency's counterterrorism operations. "People should not jump to conclusions". "Tillerson had reliably, if unsuccessfully, pushed back against President Trump's more aggressive instincts on Iran ..." Cohn, who is Jewish, said he considered resigning.

Mr Tillerson also appeared out of the loop last week when Mr Trump announced he would meet with North Korea's leader and become the first sitting USA president to do so.

European diplomats saw some chance Pompeo may have more influence over Trump than Tillerson, who antagonized the USA president by reportedly calling him a "moron" and who differed with Trump on Iran and other issues. With Pompeo, ideas define policy. Trump often tweeted out positions contrary to those his chief diplomat had publicly espoused. "Hopefully, he'll have the mandate that Tillerson didn't have".

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