Mike Pompeo: the man to replace Tillerson

George Ogala
Mike Pompeo | Getty Images

President Trump announced Tuesday that Mike Pompeo, now the C.I.A. director, will become secretary of state, replacing Rex W. Tillerson, ending his short but tumultuous tenure as the nation’s chief diplomat. Mr. Tillerson found himself repeatedly at odds with Mr. Trump on a variety of key foreign policy issues.

The president announced his decision via Twitter.

The former Tea Party representative from Kansas is seen as a Trump loyalist who has performed a delicate balancing act in managing frayed relations between the spy agency and a commander-in-chief who compared America’s intelligence services to Nazis.

The CIA director is more hawkish on the Kremlin than the president and has previously warned that President Putin is a dangerous leader.

Before joining the CIA, the 53-year-old former-three-term Republican from Wichita, Kansas, was a vehement critic of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.

He has previously defended the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection programme and opposes shutting the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Little wonder in his announcement, Mr. Trump focused on Mr. Pompeo without explaining his decision about Mr. Tillerson.

“As Director of the C.I.A., Mike has earned the praise of members in both parties by strengthening our intelligence gathering, modernizing our defensive and offensive capabilities, and building close ties with our friends and allies in the international intelligence community,” he said in a written statement distributed by the White House.

“I have gotten to know Mike very well over the past 14 months, and I am confident he is the right person for the job at this critical juncture,” he continued.”He will continue our program of restoring America’s standing in the world, strengthening our alliances, confronting our adversaries, and seeking the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Mr. Pompeo has since resumed official duties as America’s 70th secretary of states.