The overall mood in European business newspapers this morning is one of respect for outgoing Secretary of State Mr. Rex Tillerson and one of fear for the Washington hawks taking over now that Mr. Mike Pompeo will be heading the state department.
As Mr. Trump announced yesterday in a long foregone conclusion, the ‘chemistry’ between himself and Mr. Tillerson had been long lost. For this reason, he installed the current Director of the CIA, Mr. Pompeo, to take his place and thanked Mr. Tillerson for services rendered. Faithful to his social media habits, he announced it with a tweet.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!</p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/973540316656623616?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">13 March 2018</a></blockquote>
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Mr. Tillerson gave a farewell speech in the afternoon, thanking those he had worked with whilst clearly omitting to mention Mr. Trump (talk of chemistry lost indeed).
The former ExxonMobil chief said he would now return to private life before adding a somewhat grim warning as to the country many said he had a good working relationship with, Russia. Mr. Tillerson stated: "Much work remains to respond to the troubling behavior and actions on the part of the Russian government.
"Russia must assess carefully as to how its actions are in the best interest of the Russian people and of the world more broadly. Continuing on their current trajectory is likely to lead to greater isolation on their part, a situation which is not in anyone's interest."
Clearly shaken by the events which resembled nothing from his business dealing days of the past, Mr. Tillerson ensured the public that Mr. Trump and he had spoken to ensure clarity for his department in the days ahead. For the coming weeks, Mr. Tillerson’s appointed deputy Mr. John Sullivan will take over running day to day operations until the arrival, pending on Congress confirmation, of Mr. Pompeo.
"What is most important is to ensure an orderly and smooth transition during a time that the country continues to face significant policy and national security challenges," Mr. Tillerson finished.