“The White House and the State Department are now in essentially open revolt over who exactly fired the Secretary of State when” Associated Press reporter Josh Lederman who covers Tillerson and was accompanying him on an official flight said everything seemed fine that morning told Powerhouse Politics podcast.
“The fact that this was imminent, that he was going to step off his airplane after jetting across Africa on Trump’s behalf for a week, within four hours be fired by tweet, was something that we had no sense of,” Lederman said.
When asked by ABC News if Tillerson was still serving as secretary, a State Department official said the press office had to check.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tillerson would serve as secretary “during a transition period.”
Tillerson will keep his cabinet title until the end of March; and if confirmed by the Senate, CIA Director Mike Pompeo will take his place.
This could mean a major shift in foreign policy.
“The biggest change will be to Iran policy. That’s where you really see the biggest gulf between the general approach of Tillerson and the general approach of Pompeo,” Lederman said.
In the meantime, Tillerson, appears headed back to private life.
Most wouldn’t characterize Tillerson as the conventional Secretary of State, considering his business background and his approach to the role as top U.S. diplomat.
But Lederman explains this is not the reason Trump fired him.