Rex Tillerson is out as Secretary of State, to be replaced by Mike Pompeo. Gina Haspel will fill his role as the new Director of the CIA.
The president spoke to reporters about the cabinet shakeup and several other matters while departing for California, where he will tour prototypes of the border wall.
"Gina, by the way... will be the first woman director of the CIA. She's an outstanding person," Trump said.
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
The president said about Pompeo: "I respect his intellect... For whatever reason, chemistry, whatever it is. Why do people get along? I've always -- right from the beginning, from day one, I've gotten along well with Mike Pompeo."
"I'm really at a point where we're getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want," the president added. "I think Mike Pompeo will be a truly great Secretary of State. I have total confidence in him, and as far as Rex Tillerson is concerned I very much appreciate his commitment and his service and I wish him well."
"I'll see you at the wall. I'll see you at the wall," the president said before departing for California, where he will tour border wall prototypes.
TRUMP: I've worked with Mike Pompeo now for quite some time. Tremendous energy, tremendous intellect. We're always on the same wavelength. The relationship has always been very good and that's what I need as secretary of state.
I wish Rex Tillerson well.
Gina, by the way, who I know very well, who I've worked very closely, will be the first woman director of the CIA. She's an outstanding person who also I have gotten to know very well.
So I've gotten to know a lot of people very well over the last year. And I'm really at a point where we're getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want.
But I think Mike Pompeo will be a truly great secretary of state. I have total confidence in him.
And as far as Rex Tillerson is concerned, I very much appreciate his commitment and his service, and I wish him well. He's a good man.
QUESTION: Mr. President, what did you tell Rex Tillerson?
QUESTION - 2: Mr. President, what did you say to Rex Tillerson?
TRUMP: Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time. We -- we got along actually quite well, but we disagreed on things.
When you look at the Iran deal, I think it's terrible. I guess he thought it was OK. I wanted to either break it or do something, and he felt a little bit differently.
So we were not really thinking the same.
With Mike, Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process. I think it's going to go very well.
Rex is a very good man. I like Rex a lot. I really appreciate his commitment and his service. And I'll be speaking to Rex over a long period of time.
TRUMP: I can't hear you.
TRUMP: No, I really didn't discuss it very much with him, honestly. I made that decision by myself. Rex wasn't, as you know, in our -- in this country. I made the North Korea decision with consultation from many people, but I made that decision by myself.
QUESTION: Did you and Rex Tillerson (inaudible)?
TRUMP: I actually got along well with Rex. But really it was a different mindset. It was a different thinking.
QUESTION: Did you fire him because he called you a moron?
TRUMP: What? Say it again.
TRUMP: I respect his intellect. I respect the process that we've all gone through together. We have a very good relationship. For whatever reason, chemistry, whatever it is. Why do people get along? I've always -- right from the beginning, from day one, I've gotten along well with Mike Pompeo.
And frankly, I get along well with Rex too. As -- you know, I wish Rex a lot of good things. I think he's going to do -- I think he's going to be very happy.
I think Rex will be much happier now. But I really appreciate his service.
But with Mike, we've had a very good chemistry right from the beginning.
TRUMP: Well, it sounds to me -- I'm speaking to Theresa May today. It sounds to me like it would be Russia, based on all of the evidence they have. I don't know if they've come to a conclusion, but she's calling me today.
As you know, now we're going to the wall. We're going out to the wall, we're going to be looking at the prototypes, which is very important for our country.
But Theresa May is going to be speaking to me today. It sounds to me like they believe it was Russia, and I would certainly take that finding as fact.
QUESTION: Mr. President, people think there should be a response from the United States. Do you believe there should be a response from the United States?
TRUMP: Yeah, as soon as we get the facts straight. And we're going to be speaking with the British today. We're speaking with Theresa May today. And as soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them, we will condemn Russia or whoever it may be.
But I have not spoken to her. I'll speak to her sometime today.
TRUMP: We're very happy with the decision by the House Intelligence Committee saying there was absolutely no collusion with respect to Russia. And it was a very powerful decision, a very strong decision, backed up -- I understand they're going to be releasing hundreds of pages of proof and evidence.
But we are very, very happy with that decision. It was a powerful decision that left no doubt.
So I want to thank the House Intelligence Committee and all of the people that (inaudible).
TRUMP: I'm looking at Larry Kudlow very strongly. I've known him a long time. We don't agree on everything, but in this case I think that's good. I want to have a divergent opinion.
We agree on most. He now has come around to believing in tariffs as also a negotiating point. You know, I'm renegotiating trade deals. And without tariffs, we wouldn't do nearly as well.
But Larry has been a friend of mine for a long time. He backed me very early in the campaign. I think the earliest -- I think he was one of my original backers. He's a very, very talented man, a good man. And I think Larry Kudlow has a good chance. I'm also speaking to many others, but I think Larry has a very good chance.
Thank you all. I'll see you -- I'll see you at the wall. I'll see you at the wall.