Trump loyalist Pompeo faces North Korea challenge as top diplomat

State Tillerson arrives at a joint news conference at the White House in Washington

Back in 2016, when Rex Tillerson's name was floated as Donald Trump's choice for secretary of state, I wrote hopefully here about Tillerson's skill as a canny corporate diplomat, about how the down-to-earth, pickup-driving native of Wichita Falls would bring some needed discipline to the new administration.

As for Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil CEO whom Trump picked as his administration's top Cabinet official, the president said simply, "we disagreed on things".

The planned meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and ongoing tensions with Russian Federation over election interference are clearly going to be far more pressing issues for Rex Tillerson's replacement at the State Department.

But that's only one example of the many differences between Tillerson's State Department and Trump's White House. Within hours of linking Russian Federation to the attack, Tillerson was ousted by President Trump.

He said he suspects Freeland and her team will now be researching Pompeo's home state of Kansas, looking to find areas of commonality and cooperation - particularly on trade.

"He will have an appreciation of Canada on the security side, and we will now do our efforts to remind him on the economic side", Robertson said during an interview with CBC News.

The former oil executive said he would remain at the department until March 31 to conclude an administrative handover, but that Deputy Secretary John Sullivan would take charge.

Two White House officials have said Mr Tillerson was told he was out on Friday, but Mr Goldstein said he "did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason".

In announcing Tillerson's sacking earlier Tuesday, Trump lavished praise on Pompeo, a former United States army officer and congressman who led the Central Intelligence Agency for almost 14 months, saying he would do a "fantastic job!" Goldstein said Tillerson was "unaware of the reason" he was sacked and "had had every intention of staying", feeling he was making progress on national security.

According to NBC News, Tillerson said late Monday night that the recent poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom appeared to have "clearly" come from Russia, though whether it was done with the knowledge of the Russian government was not yet known.

Tillerson was an early advocate for USA participation in talks with North Korea, though not at such a high level.

Trump will be relying on a State Department that is undergoing huge cuts. Compare Tillerson's response to that of Pompeo.

European diplomats saw some chance Pompeo may have more influence over Trump than Tillerson, who antagonized the USA president by reportedly calling him a "moron" and who differed with Trump on Iran and other issues.

While the message was aimed at Pyongyang, it also helped Tillerson make the case for peace at the White House. Last week, top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, quit after Trump announced trade tariffs that would affect USA allies.

North Korean diplomacy was another wedge point; Trump's recent plan to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un came after Tillerson said the two countries were still far away from direct negotiations.

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