Tags: Trump Administration | Trump | Tillerson | press conference

Tillerson Delegating Duties, Urges Orderly Transition to Pompeo

Tillerson Delegating Duties, Urges Orderly Transition to Pompeo
Rex Tillerson addresses the media Tuesday after having been fired earlier in the day. (Reuters)

Tuesday, 13 March 2018 02:35 PM

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he is delegating his responsibilities at the end of the workday Tuesday to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan.

Speaking to reporters hours after being unceremoniously fired by President Donald Trump in a tweet, Tillerson says he will be formally stepping down from his post at the end of the month.

Tillerson is calling for an orderly transition to Mike Pompeo, the CIA director whom Trump has designated as Tillerson's successor pending confirmation by the Senate. He encouraged State Department employees to remain focused on their jobs.

Tillerson said he Trump called him from Air Force One after making the announcement on Twitter. 

Tillerson issued thanks to many but not to the president. And Tillerson did not take questions. 

Toward the end of his address, he took one last shot at Russia. 

"And much work remains to respond to the troubling behavior and actions on the part of the Russian government. Russia must assess carefully as to how its actions are in the best interests of the Russian and of the world more broadly. Continuing on our current trajectory is likely to lead to isolation on their part. A situation which is not in anyone's interests," Tillerson said. 

Now that Tillerson and a key aide are out at the State Department, there are vacancies at the top of the department.

The White House sacked a top aide, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein. Goldstein had contradicted the official account of how Tillerson was notified of his termination.

The remaining top echelon of officials now consists of Sullivan and the department's No. 3, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, who in January announced he would retire as soon as his successor is chosen.

Goldstein had been in his position for only three months and had angered the White House with previous comments about Trump. On Tuesday, he issued a statement in his name saying that Tillerson had not spoken with Trump and was "unaware of the reason" for his dismissal. He also told reporters that Tillerson had learned of Trump's decision with the president's tweet.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is expected to replace Goldstein at least temporarily, according to officials.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he is delegating his responsibilities at the end of the workday Tuesday to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. Speaking to reporters hours after being unceremoniously fired by President Donald Trump in a tweet, Tillerson says he...
Trump, Tillerson, press conference
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2018-35-13
Tuesday, 13 March 2018 02:35 PM
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