On March 13, US President Donald Trump unexpectedly fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and wrote about it on his Twitter page: “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!” According to The Washington Post, the possible dismissal of Tillerson had been discussed for months, until the resident of the White House asked the diplomat to leave on March 9.
“SUCH A FIGURE WAS NOT ENTIRELY CONVENIENT”
The Day asked Americanist, Professor at Borys Hrinchenko University of Kyiv Oleksandr TSVIETKOV for his opinion about the causes of the hasty decision of the American president and expectations linked to Pompeo’s appointment as secretary of state.
“Although there were reports that Tillerson would be replaced by another figure, the new appointment was, if not sensational, then in any case unexpectedly fast, since the secretary was on an official trip to a number of African countries, and as we have learned, he received the dismissal note from the president during that trip.
“Perhaps the dismissal is due to the fact that Tillerson dared to have a different opinion and to adjust the administration’s initiatives in the foreign arena. Such a figure was not entirely convenient for the Trump administration.
“The newly appointed secretary of state Pompeo is an interesting person. He owes his public service appointments to the Trump administration and has about eight years of experience as a congressman, that is, he has connections in Congress. This is important for the president and the administration, because now is the time when they need to have more behind-the-scenes and official links to the Congress. In addition, Pompeo obtained a good academic education in Harvard, he graduated from West Point and then had some quite successful business contacts. His name is associated with the family-owned multinational Koch Corporation, which is considered the second largest of its kind in the world. He seems to be a creature of the Koch brothers, who are among the largest conservative-leaning donors of the Republican Party. I see here the desire to combine his congressional connections with support he has from the US corporate capital, the latter better suiting Ppresident Trump’s understanding of the nature of national leadership and the ways of accomplishing diplomatic missions.”
A POLICY CHANGE?
“Of course, there will be a restructuring in the Department of State’s personnel. Pompeo is expected to be more supportive of the administration’s course and cooperative with it, as well as to avoid independent actions.”
A WOMAN TO LEAD THE CIA
“This is a really significant political step in terms of public appeal. Most likely, it happened out of desire to win some votes, to show some innovative moves on the part of the Republican Party. After all, the midterm congressional election will take place in six months, and they need to draw attention to the party and steps it takes. These gestures can also be perceived as an attempt to drum up support for the course of the administration and counteract criticism sparked by its attitude to women.”