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
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.
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