US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been dismissed by President Trump, to be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

The Washington Post reports that Tillerson, who has held his post since February 2017, was asked to step down by the President on Friday.

In a statement issued to the Washington Post, Trump said:

I am proud to nominate the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, to be our new Secretary of State. Mike graduated first in his class at West Point, served with distinction in the US Army, and graduated with Honors from Harvard Law School. He went on to serve in the US House of Representatives with a proven record of working across the aisle.

Gina Haspel, the Deputy Director of the CIA, will be nominated to replace Director Pompeo and she will be the CIA’s first-ever female director, a historic milestone. Mike and Gina have worked together for more than a year, and have developed a great mutual respect.

Finally, I want to thank Rex Tillerson for his service. A great deal has been accomplished over the last fourteen months, and I wish him and his family well.

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By GlobalData

Tillerson returned early from his first diplomatic trip to Africa yesterday, due to “the demands of work and the need to be in Washington for in-person meetings”.

Earlier this week, Trump announced plans to meet with Kim Jong-Un to discuss denuclearisation. This meeting would be the first between a US president and a North Korean leader.

During a press conference in Nairobi yesterday, Tillerson said that discussions about meetings were “still in the very early stages”. Tillerson has previously cautioned restraint and the need for more discussion between the two states.

Tillerson also strayed from the party line this week on the poisoning of Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal, saying that the attack “clearly came from Russia” and would trigger consequences. This is a marked departure from Trump’s relative silence on the issue.

During his time as Secretary of State, Tillerson has weathered various storms, with reports claiming that Trump was close to firing him several times. The President and Tillerson have clashed repeatedly over Tillerson’s “establishment” attitude.

Shortly after Tillerson’s removal was announced, 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!