Transcript for Secretary of State Tillerson promises smooth transition for his replacement
This is an ABC news. George Stephanopoulos. Good afternoon coming in here right now because Rex Tillerson the man fired a secretary of state by president from just this morning has just appeared in the State Department briefing room. Let's listen what he aesthetic and all. I received a call today from the present United States that low after noon time from Air Force One. None of also spoken to White House chief of staff Kelly. To ensure we have clarity as to the days ahead. What is most important who's to ensure an orderly and smooth transition. Dirt a time that country continues to face significant policy. And national security challenges. As such effective if the into the day. I'm delegating all responsibilities of the office of the secretary. To deputy secretary of State's all of them. My commissioner secretary of state. We'll terminated midnight march 31. Between now and then whole address. A few administrative matters related to mount torture. And work towards a smooth and orderly transition. For secretary of state designate Mike Pompeo off. I'm encouraging my policy planning team and under secretaries and assistant secretaries. Those confirmed. As well as those and acting positions. To remain at their post. We continue our mission at the State Department. And working with generators to process. How will be meeting. So members of my front office team of policy planning letter notifying them for their service. Though they have been extraordinarily. Dedicated to our mission. Which includes promoting. Values that I've use been very important but those safety and security or State Department personnel. Accountability. Which means treating each other with a honesty and integrity. And respect for one another. Most recently in particular to address challenges of sexual harassment within of the four month. Phones figure out a State Department colleagues and to our interagency colleagues and partners that DOD. The joint chiefs from the stress most particularly. To my horn servers officers and civil service colleagues. We altered the same oath of office. Where are your career. Employee or political point do we are all bound by that common commitment. Do support and for in the constitution. To bear true faith and allegiance to sign. The two faithfully discharge to do so our office. As a State Department we're bound together by that oath. We remain steadfast. Here in Washington. And at post across the world. Many of whom are in danger plays situations. Without their families. The world needs selfless leaders like these. Ready to work with longstanding allies. New emerging partners and allies through now many are struggling as democracies. And in some cases. Are dealing with. Human tragedy crisis and natural disasters. Literally crawling themselves out little circumstances. These are experiences that no lecture hall and academic environment for a think tank can teach you. All about people going to the front lines to serve. Committed develop this kind of talent. Two men and women in uniform. I'm told for the first time in most people's memory. The department state Department of Defense. A close working relationship. Where we all agree the US leadership starts. With diplomacy. The men and women in uniform with forms fifths on the leadership of secretary Madison general Don effort. Protect us as Americans on our way of life daily at home and abroad. There's an all volunteer military that they do it for love of country. The do it for you. And they do it for me. To for no other reason. As Americans we're all eternally grateful to each of their own that we honor their sacrifices. The rewarding part of having leadership and partnerships in place there's a you can actually get some things done. And only due recognition to the State Department. And our partners. For a few of their accomplishments. Under this administration. First working with allies. We exceeded expectations of almost everyone. With the DP RK a maximum pressure campaign. With the announcement on my very first trip as secretary of state to the region that there are strategic patience was over. And we commence the steps to dramatically. Increased not just the scope but the effectiveness of the sanctions. The department undertook their global campaign. To bring partners and allies on board in every country around the world. With every embassy and mission raising this to the highest levels. And every meeting up had throughout the year this has been on the agenda to discuss. Good option to South Asia strategy. With the conditions vice military plan there's the tool to compel telephone to reconciliation. The peace talks with the Afghan government. Finally equip our military planners with a strategy which they connects acute. As opposed to a succession of sixteen. When your strategies. This clear military commitment. Attracted the support of allies broadly. And equip our diplomats. With a whole new level of certain be around touted. Prepare for the peace talks and achieve the final objectives. And other areas what progress has been made much work remains. In Syria. We did achieve important cease fires and stabilization which we know has saved thousands of lives. There's more to be done in Syria directly with respect to achieving peace there's Roy is stabilizing Iraq and seeing a healthy government installed. For more broadly amid Qatar global campaign to defeat vices. Nothing is possible without allies and often partners both. Much work remains to establish a clear view of the nature our future relationship with China. How sure we deal with one another over the next fifty years. Finisher period of prosperity for all of our people's. Free of conflict between two very powerful nations. And much work remains. To respond with a troubling behavior and actions of all the part of the Russian government. Russia must assess carefully mr. Scott's actions are in the best interest of the Russian people. Know the world more broadly. Continuing on their current trajectory is likely to lead to greater isolation on their part. The situation which is not in anyone's it first. So my colleagues and State Department and interagency much remains to be done to achieve our mission only half the American people. With allies. And with partners. Are close by thanking the hall for the privilege of serving. Beside you for the last fourteen months. Importantly to the 300 plus million Americans. Thank you for your devotion to a free and open society. To acts of kindness toward one another. Honesty and the quiet hard work to you do every day to support this government with your tax dollars. All of those we know want to leave this place does a better place for the next generation. On our return through private life. Private citizen. There's a proud American. Proud adelphia had to serve my country. God bless all of you. Godless American people god bless America. Rex Tillerson there leaving the briefly after saying he would be turning overall responsibilities as secretary of state at the end of the day into the death of Terry deputy secretary of state John Sullivan. Secretary also said there they received a call from president trouble little after noon today to talk about the order what he called the orderly transition. With interest thing about that of course is the president trump announced the firing himself. With a tweet at 8:44 this morning and then appeared before cameras on his way to California earlier this morning. Rex and I've adopted about this prolonged dive we we catalog actually quite well but we disagreed on what you look at. The Iran deal I think it's terrible I guess he bit it was OK I wanted dead either break get it is something. Had he felt a little bit differently so we were not really thinking that day. Mike Mike bail we have made yep very similar thought process. I think it's gotta go very well wrecks that very good man I like Rex a lot. I really appreciate his commitment that is service. Had I'll be thinking direct over a long period of time. From their tight mother differences he had Rex Tillerson also praised the incoming secretary see his nominee for secretary of state Mike on pins CIA director here whether. Tina White House correspondent Cecilia Vega and say this is really something. But only we've ever really seen before the president announcing the firing of secretary of state before you talk to us. Before you talk to him and that the secretary of state doubled up and announced his resignation while the president is in the air traveling to California. Make no bones about this George there is bad blood between these two men is long standing there or not they have not been happy with each other. The president said Iran. North Korea how to deal with Kim Jung un climate change that over these comments that go back what if secretary Tillerson use the word moron to describe. President trump this was a long time coming the fact that it happened now is a complete surprise. Let's just talk about the chaos that is enveloping this White House right now this is now the seventh senior administration official to leave this White House. This year alone. Eight it and the president just said in recent days that he likes to see competing voices we're now seeing. The second a very high ranking official. Inside that White House to leave Gary Cohen the chief economic advisor out just a few days ago you gotta wonder whether the president really wants those competing voices around him. And of course it comes in the run up to this set proposed summit between the president Kim Jun nine. A North Korea want to bring in our chief global affairs anchor Martha Raddatz for more on that as well the secretary of state clearly blind sided. By the president's decision to seek a summit. Last week even though he had been arguing for talks for many months before with Kim Jung won and been shot down by the president. He had been shut down at about 48 hours before the president accepted. That summit. Rex Tillerson said it wasn't the time for negotiations. So he had to back track with that statement is well think about the day. That Rex Tillerson has had today here ride back in Washington DC at 4 AM this morning. Hours later the president tweets that he is fired. If he sounded a little bit wind did an emotional in that statement it is because I'm sure he is exhausted and is you both said he has been blind sided by this decision. Although he certainly had a hint about that. At the end of last year there was a lot of talk that Rex Tillerson was on its way out after it was reported particularly that he had said in private. That the president was a moron there was much talk that he would be out the door the president denied that and a tweets that it wasn't going to happen. But we have a today at a Biggs. And Martha Raddatz that White House also announcing the firing of the number four official the State Department. The undersecretary of state Steve Goldstein who put up a statement saying the Rex Tillerson hand been called. By the president Lisa the broader question about the the whole foreign policy team at this point the staffing in the State Department in in the foreign service. And whether you do the administration has the team in place to prepare for this summit was North Korea. And and and that's the question George the State Department there are so many unfilled positions. There is no ambassador to South Korea right now although there is very capable number two. In charge there in sold. But big State Department in the Steve Goldstein today fired I've really haven't seen anything like the State Department so suddenly and this is the statement that he made. He's the under secretary or was the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy the secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security. He will miss his colleagues at the Department of State to go on these secretary did not speak to the president and is under aware of the reason. He was fired and within a couple of hours the man who put that statement out. Fire. Sustained they wanna things are seeing right here right now as president from doing exactly what he wants to do he wanted to be with Kim Jung and North Korea he said he was gonna do it despite the advice the experts. He wanted his guy Mike Pompeo the CIA director. In as director of the CIA is as State Department. Head that's when did. And he said today that he is now close fourteen months into his administration to having his cabinet be exactly the make up that he wanted to be. We know from our sources inside the White House and outside who still talk. Until a lot of people inside the White House the president trump has become increasingly isolated and that he's increasingly angry. And you've got to wonder whether this is a result of the emotion that the president is feeling right now. Upcoming hearings now for Mike Pompeo to be secretary of state also Gina Haskell Martha Raddatz final note on this Jean Hassell career CIA officers now than appointed. The nominee to be head of the C a the first woman to lead the CIA. She is the first woman to lead the CIA and within the CIA I I think she is very well were right there will be many questions about her past in 2002. She was in charge in one of one of those so called black sites where they did enhanced interrogation and also with the destruction. Of the tapes from Matt so she will face questions about that. OK there you have a secretary of state Rex Tillerson is that he will be turning over all responsibilities at the end of the day you get the latest breaking news any time by downloading the ABC news happen of course a full report tonight. On world news tonight with David here. Have a good day. This has been a special. Relief keys.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.