Trump 'On the Same Wavelength' as Mike Pompeo on North Korea

Donald Trump Tuesday sacked his top diplomat Rex Tillerson and named current Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo to succeed him, ending a rocky tenure by the Texas oilman who had been sidelined on the world stage by the mercurial president.

As for Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil CEO whom Trump picked as his administration's top Cabinet official, the president said simply, "we disagreed on things".

"We can't put the North Korea issue on the back burner". Goldstein's swift firing after refuting the Trump administration's rhetoric further reinforces the erratic nature of the White House under Trump's tenure and stands as a cause for concern moving forward.

"The next secretary of state faces a number of pressing challenges overseas, particularly Russian Federation and North Korea", Collins said. "Really, it was a different mind-set, a different thinking".

"The president wanted to make sure to have his new team in place in advance of the upcoming talks with North Korea and various ongoing trade negotiations", said a senior White House official Tuesday.

"Would you define this White House as stable?" a reporter followed up.

But with Pompeo tapped to become secretary of state, some US officials and analysts worry about what they see as the Republican former congressman's habit of telling Trump what he wants to hear, especially as the administration prepares for an unprecedented summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono had been planning a trip to the United States later this week to hold talks with Tillerson about the latest developments in North Korea. Tillerson's State Department, however, issued a statement asserting that the secretary "had every intention of remaining" in the role prior to being fired, had not spoken to the president about it, and was "unaware of the reason".

Hours later, Mr Goldstein was himself fired.

Trump in recent days has told confidants that he feels emboldened, confident in his decisions to order new worldwide trade on tariffs and to meet with Kim Jong Un and far less willing to put up with disloyalty around him, according to a person who has spoken to the president in recent days but was not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations. "And that was a total mystery because the people at the State Department would work for the devil if he is advancing American interests, which Mr. Tillerson was". Compare Tillerson's response to that of Pompeo.

Tillerson was an early advocate for USA participation in talks with North Korea, though not at such a high level. Top economic adviser Gary Cohn announced his resignation last week, not long after communications director Hope Hicks and staff secretary Rob Porter both departed near the start of Trump's second year in office.

Blessing said he believes the move also adds ammunition for the president's critics.

Some said Washington may take a harder line under Pompeo and the Europeans may be under more pressure to offer concessions, while others suggested his views on the deal have evolved and he may be better placed to influence Trump to keep it. USA sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh "waivers" to suspend them on May 12.

  • David Armstrong