Mar 14, 2018, 1:02 AM ET

'Open revolt' at the State Department over Tillerson dismissal, reporter says


A pool reporter who was on the plane with Secretary of State Tillerson hours before he was fired says there is “open revolt” between Trump and the State Department.

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“The White House and the State Department are now in essentially open revolt over who exactly fired the Secretary of State when” Associated Press reporter Josh Lederman who covers Tillerson and was accompanying him on an official flight said everything seemed fine that morning told Powerhouse Politics podcast.

“The fact that this was imminent, that he was going to step off his airplane after jetting across Africa on Trump’s behalf for a week, within four hours be fired by tweet, was something that we had no sense of,” Lederman said.

PHOTO: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives to a news conference with President Donald Trump and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in the East Room of the White House, March 6, 2018 in Washington.Pool via Getty Images
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives to a news conference with President Donald Trump and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in the East Room of the White House, March 6, 2018 in Washington.

President Trump’s firing of his Secretary of State Tuesday morning took reporters by surprise, plunging an already chaotic White House into more turmoil. Immediately after Trump’s decision, the State Department and the White House seemed to disagree on who was the current Secretary of State.

When asked by ABC News if Tillerson was still serving as secretary, a State Department official said the press office had to check.

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tillerson would serve as secretary “during a transition period.”

Trump ousting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo

PHOTO: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks from the State Department in Washington, March 13, 2018.ABC News
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks from the State Department in Washington, March 13, 2018.

Trump says he'll select first woman to lead CIA

Tillerson's relationship with Trump fraught from the start

Tillerson will keep his cabinet title until the end of March; and if confirmed by the Senate, CIA Director Mike Pompeo will take his place.

This could mean a major shift in foreign policy.

“The biggest change will be to Iran policy. That’s where you really see the biggest gulf between the general approach of Tillerson and the general approach of Pompeo,” Lederman said.

In the meantime, Tillerson, appears headed back to private life.

Most wouldn’t characterize Tillerson as the conventional Secretary of State, considering his business background and his approach to the role as top U.S. diplomat.

But Lederman explains this is not the reason Trump fired him.

“Trump did not fire him because he wanted him to be like John Kerry. Trump fired him because he tried to push Trump to do things that he didn’t want to do,” Lederman said, citing the Iran deal and the Paris Climate agreement.

News - 'Open revolt' at the State Department over Tillerson dismissal, reporter says

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  • Dan Tas

    This thread is polluted with ANTIFA fascists. You know, the "tough" punks.

  • Jen Bordon

    Dumpy is going to fire every adult in the White House until
    his inner circle of main advisers is Baby Spice and Peewee Herman.

  • Rich Lang

    Surely this will be sufficient cause to give even the staunchest Trump supporter "buyer's remorse"? Tillerson may have been the best (everything is relative) cabinet appointment of Trump's term to this point, and now he has been cast aside. The President just does not "get it" with respect to his job description, or with respect to how the world works. Treating the Oval Office like the set of The Apprentice is not helping the Republicans at all. Trump hijacked the party brand and somehow managed to regain control of the executive branch, which the GOP said repeatedly they had to have. Well, now they have it and still not much gets done because Trump sucks the air out of DC. Being unpredictable is one thing; being inconsistent and random is an entirely different thing. All the so-called successes of Trump's term (conservative SCOTUS appointment, tax bill, surging economy) would have happened regardless of the Republican who won; all of this is more "it isn't a democrat" than it is Trump specifically. The mid-terms are only 8 months away, and the GOP could potentially face a reduced House majority and loss of control in the Senate. If that happens it is all on Trump. The GOP can fix this but they are running out of time.

  • TLG

    Pompeo is a dominist that wants a 'crusade' and trump has to appease his core base of evangelicals. Next stop is Iran.. onward christian soldiers..

  • Gary Kiser

    Open revolt, my goodness...was there gunplay? Sound serious

  • Ginger D. McFayden

    At 3:09 to 3:15..... 45 says, "I'm really at a point where, we're getting very close to having.. the cabinet.. and other things that I want!" What he wants, he does not compromise!

  • danny lemon

    You're fired!

  • Vp Pacificocean

    Secretary Tillerson was a capable leader.

  • john

    F him. He only took the job becsuse he was going to retire from Exxon. Becoming SOS allowed him to sell off his Exxon stock tax free, netting him additional millions of $$. Same with Gary Cohn. Got to sell all his GS stock tax free. There is a reason everyone wants those jobs, initially.

  • tet1953

    Trump wants people with diverse opinions around him..until they disagree with him.

  • McNamara

    Trump is an unprofessional, classless idiot. Who fires someone using a tweet ? He has the intellect and tact of a shoe salesman. (Sorry shoe salesmen) If his father wasn't a millionaire he'd be selling fish at the Fulton Fish Market in NY.

  • Armommi

    Since we know how much he loves being in front of a camera, and ,knowing that this is quite a big deal to the American people, he might have shown a little class by holding a press conference to announce this to the world. Whether Rex was forewarned or not is less an issue than how it was handled. Governing by Twitter? Not cool.

  • Solanum

    I did not realize there was anyone left at the State Department to revolt.

  • flylikeaneagle

    Russia sure knew which candidate for president would be the worst for the U.S. The presidential clown strikes again making a mockery of the U.S. and the presidency. What a fool!

  • B-K KnightRider

    In other words, Trump fired him because Trump wants to surround himself with a pack of flunkies so they can form a mutual admiration society for groupthink. The LAST think Trump wants is to have people around him who are capable of engaging independent rational thought and who have the courage and integrity to speak truth to power.

  • Jules Martin

    I just keep reminding myself that nothing Trump says can be trusted and that he is against about any and everything that he can't personally benefit from. He's in a place of accountability now and is finding there is no way out. About time. He can change his players over and again. That won't change the end result. might delay it though.

  • flylikeaneagle

    There is definitely no job security for employees under Trump. Any bets on who's going to be fired next? I'm sure many are still to be fired. But he never seems to fire his family. Trump is such a clown

  • m bc

    Tillerson was CEO of Exxon, 2013 he closed a deal to develop Arctic oil/gas (much easier access with climate change) that gives economically struggling Russia $500 BILLION Putin MUST HAVE to rebuild Russian military (planes, ships, drones, etc...), even gave Tillerson their highest medal. Then Russia invaded Ukraine, seized Crimea and US/EU sanctions froze deal, Putin's military upgrade (one (1) old & broken aircraft carrier to US ELEVEN (11) modern nuclear carriers with hundreds of 4th & 5th generation planes, even better planes & carriers coming online over next decade). Removing sanctions, preventing more Obama & EU wanted over Russian cybertheft/leaking & voter manipulation that (barely) gave Trump electoral college and White House-- that's why Kushner/Flynn wanted "secret back channel" separate from US systems (to prevent exactly what happened-Flynn getting caught in lie because govt had the calls/texts). Note reports that Putin blocked Mitt Rommney as Sec. State- TRUE. PUTIN WANTED TILLERSON WHO SIGNED $500 BILLION EXXON ARCTIC DEAL EXPECTING TILLERSON (WITH HUGE PERSONAL STOCK UPSIDE IF EXXON DEAL UNBLOCKED) WOULD HELP REMOVE SANCTIONS, GETTING PUTIN MILITARY BUILD UP MONEY HE NEEDS. BUT BETWEEN Comey, Mueller/Congressional cyber/election investigations and Russia against US with Syria/Iran-Tillerson/Trump's hands have been tied. Trump figures his protecting Russia on elections & leaving US cyber door open Russia pays for Russia covering up Trump money laundering & bank fraud. Trump doesn't like Tillerson (a "real" top, successful, sophisticated business leader) who knows more about everything (business, deal making, finance, even brand value) and is a grown up who could sink Trump on Russia, speak uo on Iran, trade policy. So with Russia less behind Tillerson, Trump's ego/insecurity and Russian investigation closing in-- Tillerson goes and Trump's "die with Trump in the bunker" & Koch backed CIA Director, is in. Note Russia coverup includes Kushner/Mercer/Cambridge Analyctics giving social media targeting algorithims created by company owned by Mercer Family Billionaire & largest Trump donor (got $5 million of $30 million family contribution on contract with Mercer's Cambridge Analytics, and insisted on Bannon as CEO & Kelly Ann Conway as campaign manager). With Kushner/Mercer data, Russia was able to manipulate/steal pivotal, outcome determinative votes giving Trump the White House.

  • Snarky Sparkasm

    If you aren't following the money, you have no idea of what is happening.The folks who were "lobbying" for Tillerson's removal just had a good day. They're taking credit for it in their domestic media. I hope it was expensive.

  • Regina akens

    Putin ordered Trump to fire Tillerson.

  • Joe P

    If Tillerson really supported the Iran Agreement and the Paris Climate Accord, then he needed to be fired!