Trump on Tillerson exit: “Rex will be much happier now”

Last Updated Mar 13, 2018 9:49 AM EDT

President Trump said he thinks Secretetary of State Rex Tillerson will be “much happier now” after he announced his removal from leading the State Department on social media Tuesday morning. He made the remarks while departing for California — his first trip to the state as president. His visit comes amid planned protests as he is he expected to visit and review eight border wall prototypes to see what his “big beautiful wall” he promised along the campaign trail might look like. 

Mr. Trump’s announced his ouster of Tillerson via an early morning tweet on Tuesday. He announced that current CIA director Mike Pompeo would be nominated to take over the leadership of the State Department.

“I’m really getting close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want but I think Mike Pompeo will be a truly great Secretary of State, I have total confidence in him and as far as Rex Tillerson is concerned, I very much appreciate his commitment and his service and I wish him well,” the president said on the White House South Lawn. 

While speaking to reporters, Mr. Trump said he was talking about removing Tillerson for a “long time,” and said that the two had disagreed on things like the Iran deal.

“We were not really thinking the same,” the president said, citing a “different mindset” and poor chemistry as a problem of their relationship. He said that Mike Pompeo has a “very similar thought process” as he does.

“From day one I’ve gotten along well with Pompeo,” added Mr. Trump. 

On North Korea, Mr. Trump said he didn’t discuss the possibility of talks with Tillerson who was in Africa at the time the news of a summit between the U.S. and North Korea came out. He said he ultimately made the decision by himself.

Later Tuesday, Mr. Trump is due to give remarks at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar before leaving San Diego for an evening fundraiser with RNC supporters at a private residence in Santa Monica. He told reporters before making his way to Marine One, “I’ll see you at the wall.”

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