If the former ExxonMobil top executive Rex Tillerson decided to leave his job as Secretary of State, who would replace him? It looks as if the Donald Trump administration, which may fire Tillerson, has already lined up an unexpected replacement.
For quite some time, it appeared that the former governor of South Carolina and current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) Nikki Haley had the job. Yet, State Department staffers have been reporting to Vanity Fair that the former Republican representative from Kansas and current Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Mike Pompeo has been selected to take it.
Diplomats in the State Department believe that Pompeo could take the job as early as January. Tillerson has been close with his comments and rarely speaks to reporters. Last summer, Tillerson appeared to be looking for a way out of a job that he clearly does not enjoy. After participating in a meeting with Trump, he allegedly called the president “a moron.”
Tillerson did respond to comments about him leaving the department in a press conference in early October. CNN reported:
‘The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as secretary of state because I have never considered leaving this post.’
The secretary has also had to deal with the president undermining his diplomatic efforts. Trump tweeted for the whole world to see, including North Korea:
‘I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man…Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!’
A State Department staffer said that Pompeo is becoming “more open” to taking the job, and a former diplomat spoke to Vanity Fair:
‘The working knowledge here is that Tillerson will be leaving in late January and Pompeo will be coming in as quickly as he can following that. I will call it all but a done deal.’
One source told Vanity Fair that Trump has already selected Tillerson’s replacement. Not only that, the replacement is a “retired military officer who has not previously worked at the CIA.”
The very conservative Pompeo gets along well with the president, far better than Tillerson. Disturbingly, the former representative appears to support Trump’s alternate conspiracy theories.
Morale in the State Department is dragging the ground. Tillerson has refused to fill important department positions and has driven out over 100 senior diplomatic officers since Trump took office.
A second State Department staffer told Vanity Fair:
‘I think part of it is he has signaled his frustrations with his current job, which would make the transition much easier.’
A State Department staffer said this about Pompeo:
‘He is already a willing participant to move over to state, which he sees as a much easier, much better job for
him in terms of what he wants to do.’
A Vanity Fair inside source said:
‘The succession thing to me is just chatter at the moment. I hate to say it, but I think almost anything would be
better than what we have. It is just where the bar is.’
Featured Image via Getty Images/Win McNamee.