Shortly after President Donald Trump ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and tapped CIA Director Mike Pompeo to take his place, State Department spokesperson Steve Goldstein issued a statement on the firing that’s frankly astonishing. It undercut the White House so aggressively that Goldstein was reportedly fired shortly after it went out.
Goldstein confirmed that Tillerson was fired, a rarity in a Washington where “resigns to spend more time with his family” is the norm. But the statement goes further than that, revealing that Trump did not inform Tillerson of the reason for his firing or even speak to the secretary personally before dismissing him.
I’ve been in Washington covering foreign policy and politics for nearly a decade now.
I’ve never seen anything like this statement. Here’s the full text, as emailed to reporters:The Secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security. He will miss his colleagues at the the [sic] Department of State and the foreign ministers he has worked with throughout the world.
The Secretary did not speak to the President and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling.
Michael Shear and Maggie Haberman at NYT:We wish Secretary Designate Pompeo well.
John McEntee, who has served as President Trump’s personal assistant since Mr. Trump won the presidency, was forced out of his position and escorted from the White House on Monday after his security clearance was revoked, officials with knowledge of the incident said.
But Mr. McEntee will remain in the president’s orbit despite his abrupt departure from the White House. Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign announced Tuesday that Mr. McEntee has been named Senior Adviser for Campaign Operations, putting him in a position to remain as a close aide during the next several years.
The campaign’s decision underscores Mr. Trump’s tolerance for — and often encouragement of — dueling centers of power around him. And it highlights the extent to which the re-election campaign has already become a landing pad for former Trump associates who have left the White House but remain loyal to the president.