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Fired by Trump over Twitter, Tillerson doesn’t thank him

Fired by Trump over Twitter, Tillerson doesn’t thank him

WASHINGTON — Hours after President Trump announced his firing over Twitter, outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday left the former real estate entrepreneur off the list of people he praised and thanked in a brief speech about his accomplishments and the future of his department.

Tillerson, looking and sounding defeated as he delivered an eight-minute farewell, said he was delegating his duties to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, effective at the end of the day, and formally ending his own watch as the top U.S. diplomat at the end of the month.

The former Exxon chief told reporters in the State Department briefing room that Trump had telephoned him from Air Force One a little after noon — some five hours after the president announced to the world that Tillerson was out, to be replaced by CIA director Mike Pompeo.

He shared no details, and did not mention Trump again.

Tillerson’s dismissal continues a period of extraordinary turbulence for the administration, which has seen a record level of turnover among top staffers and Cabinet officials. It comes on the heels of the abrupt exit of Gary Cohn, who was Trump’s top economic adviser. Cohn resigned March 6.

The State Department released a statement from Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein, saying Tillerson “did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason” for his dismissal.

“The Secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security,” the statement said.

Hours later, Goldstein was himself fired, evidently for contradicting the White House version of events. A senior Trump aide told reporters that White House chief of staff John Kelly telephoned Tillerson, who was traveling in Africa, on Friday to tell him he would be replaced. The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Kelly “made clear that it was imminent.” Kelly called Tillerson again on Saturday and “reiterated the Friday conversation,” said the aide, whose remarks suggested Trump hoped Tillerson would resign.

Tillerson cut short his Africa trip and was back in Washington by Monday.

Tillerson praised his top aides for being “extraordinarily dedicated” to advancing “values that I view as being very important: The safety and security of our State Department personnel; accountability, which means treating each other with honesty and integrity; and respect for one another, most recently, in particular, to address challenges of

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