Why Trump Fired US Secretary, Tillerson, 12hrs After Visiting Buhari

Buhari, US, Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo

There are strong indications that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was removed from his post by President Donald Trump over two “major” errors that he committed.

The errors, our correspondent gathered, triggered Trump to consider and appoint another loyalist, Director Mike Pompeo, who is the Director of CIA, as the new Secretary of State.

Though Trump did not give any reason for sacking the US Secretary of State in his announcement via his Twitter handle, it was learnt that there have been frequent frictions between the two recently.

Announcing the sack, Trump tweeted: “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!”

Tillerson, who was sacked 12 hours after visiting Nigeria, cut short his trip to Africa on Monday to return to Washington.

“I felt like, look, I just need to get back,” he told reporters aboard his plane home.

Before the sack, Trump had shown indications that he no longer had confidence in Tillerson. On Tuesday, he told reporters that the move to sack Tillerson had been considered for “a long time.”

“We disagreed on things … the Iran deal. So we were not thinking the same. With Mike Pompeo, we have a similar thought process.”

Beyond the Iran deal, Tillerson reportedly goofed in defending Trump’s position on Gulf States’ feud with the kingdom of Qatar and North Korea. On the contrary, Pompeo played a ‘crucial’ role in the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the US election that brought in Trump as President.

Also, Tillerson’s assertion on Monday night that Russia “clearly” was responsible for the poisoning of a former British spy, is considered as “implicating and capable of exposing the White House to danger”.

Earlier, a leaked email had revealed how the United Arab Emirates (UAE) wanted Trump to remove Rex Tillerson from his post over his attempts at mediation in the Gulf States’ feud with the kingdom of Qatar.

In the email from the inbox of Elliott Broidy, a major donor of President Donald Trump with millions’ of dollars’ worth of UAE business links, Trump was told Tillerson was “performing poorly and should be fired at a politically convenient time”.

He also called Mr Tillerson, the former CEO of oil giant Exxon Mobil, “weak” and a “tower of Jello”, that “needs to be slammed”, according to the BBC.

A Spokesperson for Mr Broidy told the BBC that the business leader’s email was hacked by “both registered and unregistered” agents of Qatar to “punish Mr Broidy for his strong opposition to state-sponsored terrorism”. Some of the emails “may have been altered”, he added.

But Qatari government representatives categorically denied hacking Mr Broidy’s email, calling the claim a “baseless accusation”.

Recall that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt abruptly cut off all diplomatic and trade ties with tiny Qatar in June last year, alleging that the state interfered in the affairs of its neighbours and funded terror organisations.

Last week, Tillerson let slip a few tantalizing details about one of the nation’s most secret military contingency plans: how the United States would try to race inside North Korea to seize its nuclear weapons if it ever saw evidence that Kim Jong-un’s government was collapsing.

But in an interview on other national security issues on Friday, a senior administration official, who has been deeply involved in the North Korea contingency planning, declined to speak about the issue, even to confirm that the conversations the secretary described had taken place.

The post Why Trump Fired US Secretary, Tillerson, 12hrs After Visiting Buhari appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.

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Author: Sodiq Adekunle with Agencies Reports