Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein was fired today by the White House in the wake of a high-level shake up that saw Secretary of State Tillerson unceremoniously dismissed from his role as the nation’s top diplomat.
The President made Tillerson’s dismissal public this morning on Twitter shortly before 9 a.m., writing “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!”
In a stunning statement to reporters afterward, Goldstein alleged that Tillerson had no idea why he was being dismissed and that he and the President had not spoken prior to the announcement.
“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 and the foreign ministers he has worked with throughout the world. The secretary did not speak to the president 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.”
After releasing that statement, Goldstein himself was dismissed from his role. In a statement released by the State Department on his behalf, Goldstein wrote, that he had been “proud to speak on behalf of the secretary of state to the American people and allies throughout the world, and this has been the honor of a lifetime.
“I wish everyone well. I look forward to getting more rest and perhaps winning an indoor rowing competition,” he added.
The White House denies Tillerson was blindsided by the announcement, saying that Chief of Staff John Kelly informed Tillerson that a change was imminent on Friday. Tillerson maintains Kelly told him on Friday to expect a Tweet from the President that concerned him but didn’t elaborate further.
Tillerson announced today that he has transferred all duties to Deputy Secretary John Sullivan who will serve as acting secretary until Pompeo is confirmed. Tillerson will remain Secretary of State in name, until he officially resigns his commission on March 31.