The President of United States Donald Trump, earlier this week, had sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, ending his short but tumultuous tenure as the nation’s chief diplomat.
According to media reports, the outgoing US Secretary Tillerson was sitting on the toilet when he was informed about the development through a call made to him by John Kelly, White House Chief of Staff.
The media reports suggest that Tillerson was suffering from a stomach bug during his Africa trip and when he received a call from Kelly asking him to be on a lookout for a presidential tweet, he was on the toilet.
The New York Times reported that Tillerson was told to cut short his diplomatic trip and return to Washington on the call.
The position left vacant by Tillerson was taken over by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Trump had taken to Twitter to share the development, saying: “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!” Trump added in a tweet.
Tillerson found himself repeatedly at odds with Trump on a variety of key foreign policy issues. A senior administration official said the President made the decision to replace Tillerson in order to have a new team in place in advance of the upcoming summit and trade negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The President last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside and the embattled diplomat, who was touring Africa, cut short his trip on Monday to return to Washington. At the time, the State Department said he was not feeling well, the US media reported.
Later, Tillerson diverged from the White House this week in saying that poison used on a former spy in the UK “came from Russia”.
The policy rift emerged sharply over North Korea when Trump tweeted in October that Tillerson was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with Pyongyang to end its nuclear and missile programmes.
Tillerson had also publicly distanced himself from the President’s defiant response to violence at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year.
(With agency inputs)