Pompeo will face a host of foreign policy challenges if confirmed as secretary of state
President Trump has chosen a new secretary of state, untested in diplomacy but more attuned to the president’s views and way of conducting foreign policy, at a time when the United States is facing an array of delicate and potentially dangerous national security challenges.
Seeking what he called “a different mind-set, a different thinking,” Trump said Tuesday that he was replacing the reserved and cautious Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a former House of Representatives firebrand with strong “America First” and hard-line Republican credentials.
“With Mike, Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process. I think it’s going to go very well,” Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to California.
Both Tillerson’s departure and the choice of Pompeo had been rumored for months, amid Trump’s clear unhappiness over public disagreements with Tillerson on issues ranging from Russia to the Middle East and North Korea. Although he frequently derided the rumors as “fake news,” Trump said Tuesday that he had been considering replacing Tillerson for “a long time.”
But the reality of the move, and the suddenness with which it was done — with Tillerson returning early from a trip to Africa, only to learn via a Trump tweet early Tuesday that he had been fired — startled and confused allies around the globe and many throughout the government.