(NBC News) — President Trump has removed Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, and replaced him with C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo.
The surprise announcement came Tuesday morning.
The president thanked Tillerson and announced his replacement on Twitter.
“Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time we got along actually quite well – but we disagreed on things,” Mr. Trump said of Tillerson shortly after the announcement.
Secretary of State Tillerson had just returned from a trip to several countries in Africa, and reportedly learned he’d been fired through the President’s tweet.
Tillerson had said earlier he would not quit his position, despite reports of disagreements with the White House.
During an afternoon State Department briefing, Tillerson said his tenure would officially end on March 31st.
“What is most important is to ensure an orderly and smooth transition during a time that the country continues to face significant policy and national security challenges,” Tillerson said
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill were caught off guard by the firing, with many questioning its timing.
“At some level, this revolving door, the reshuffling, the constant change indicates a lack of stability and consistency that breeds chaos,” said Connecticut’s Senator Richard Blumenthal.
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