'Thank You to Rex Tillerson for His Service!' Trump Tweeted
NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell reports that not only did President Donald Trump not call Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to tell him he was being fired, no one else did either.
I am told Tillerson found out he was fired from Trump’s tweet.— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) March 13, 2018
This morning. Knew there was tension but was not going to quit and did not know he was fired
Mitchell reports Tillerson found out the same way many other Americans did: via President Trump's tweet.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
Just before heading out to his first trip to California, President Trump told reporters, "I didn't really discuss it very much with him, honestly," when asked about his firing Tillerson.
Despite Trump liking to say "You're fired" when he was the host of NBC's "The Apprentice," the President has a history of not firing even his top staff himself – and usually has someone else do it when they are not near Trump.
Former FBI Director Jim Comey was fired when he was at an FBI office in Los Angeles, and found out when speaking to a group of agents who were listening to him while a television behind him delivered the news.
NBC News notes Trump's "tweet announcing the departure of former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus came while Trump was on Air Force One. Priebus was left on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base when the plane landed, after the news was out."
Tillerson's team at State released a statement saying the now-former Secretary of State "did not speak to the president" and was "unaware of the reason he was fired."
UPDATE: 11:14 AM –
Andrea Mitchell adds this detail:
Our reporters on flight from Nigeria to Andrews AFB say #Tillerson was in great spirits looking forward to being point man on negotiating North Korea talks landed 4 am today knew there were tensions with Trump but not planning to quit— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) March 13, 2018