Tillerson speaks with Pompeo as State Dept. plans for transition

Outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke with the man nominated to be his successor on Wednesday, just a day a...

Posted: Mar 16, 2018 12:23 AM

Outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke with the man nominated to be his successor on Wednesday, just a day after being fired by President Donald Trump, according to several senior State Department officials.

Tillerson and Mike Pompeo, who's currently the CIA director, are expected to meet on Monday.

"There is no anger between those two. He said he assured Pompeo that he would work to make sure his transition was successful and smooth," said one of the officials, who attended Tillerson's meeting with senior staff on Wednesday.

"It was very emotional," the official said of the gathering with undersecretaries and assistant secretaries. "He tried to capture what an honor it was for him to work with everyone for the past 14 months in a total different environment than what he ever had experienced. It was dramatic and touching."

Tillerson did not speak about his unceremonious firing by Trump in a tweet, a clear indication, this official said, "that he was telling us it is time to move on."

Several other officials who attended said the secretary told everyone he appreciated their service. As the officials filed out, Tillerson shook their hands one by one and handed them a secretary of state coin.

"There is no bitterness on our side," another official who attended the meeting said when asked about Tillerson's reputation for a tendency to alienate his staff. "Right now the point is to recognize that he was authentic and everyone is doing what they can to give him a graceful exit and help ensure a smooth transition."

Tillerson said in a farewell speech Tuesday that he will officially leave his post on March 31, but officials said his last day in the office will be March 22.

Deputy Secretary John Sullivan, who will serve as acting secretary until Pompeo is confirmed by the Senate and takes office, held a meeting to lay out a transition plan, officials said, and is making space for a transition office on the first floor of Foggy Bottom.

Pompeo is expected to meet with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker this week and will meet with other lawmakers next week.

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