US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (not pictured) in Cairo, Egypt February 12, 2018
WASHINGTON - Outgoing US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did not speak to President Donald Trump before he was sacked on Tuesday and has not been given a reason for his ouster, a top aide says.
"The secretary did not speak to the president this morning and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling and not to be regretted," Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said.
“The Secretary had every intention of staying, because of critical progress made in national security...The Secretary did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason.” Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein to CNN. Tillerson— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) March 13, 2018
Tillerson arrived back in Washington before dawn on Tuesday after a tour of African countries. A few hours later Trump announced abruptly on Twitter that he was to be replaced by CIA director Mike Pompeo.
"We wish Secretary-Designate Pompeo well," Goldstein -- who is undersecretary of state for public affairs and public diplomacy -- said, in a series of tweets from his official account.
"The secretary had every intention of remaining because of the tangible progress made on critical national security issues. He established and enjoyed relationships with his counterparts," he said.
"The secretary will miss his colleagues at the Department of State and enjoyed working together with the Department of Defence in an uncommonly robust relationship," he added, in a nod to Tillerson&39;s close working relationship with Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis.