On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The State Department shortly thereafter disagreed with the White House’s account of how Tillerson was informed of that decision. Tillerson addressed reporters at the State Department later in the day. Below, a full transcript of those remarks.
I received a call today from the president of the United States a little after noontime from Air Force One, and I’ve spoken to Chief of Staff Kelly.
To ensure that we have clarity in the days ahead, what is most important is to ensure an orderly and smooth transition during the time that the country continues to face significant policy and national-security challenges. As such, effective at the end of the day, I’m delegating all responsibilities of the Office of the Secretary to Deputy Secretary of State Solomon. My commission as secretary of state will terminate at midnight March 31. Between now and then, I will address a few administrative matters related to my departure and work towards a smooth and orderly transition for Secretary of State designate Mike Pompeo.
I’m encouraging my policy-planning team and under secretaries and assistant secretaries, those confirmed as well as those in acting positions, to remain at their posts, to continue our mission at the State Department and working with the interagency process. I will be meeting members of my front-office team and policy planning to thank them for their service. They have been extraordinarily dedicated to our mission, which includes promoting values that I view as very important: the safety and security of State Department personnel, accountability, which means treating each other with honesty and integrity and respect for one another. Most recently, in particular, to address challenges of sexual harassment within the department.