President Donald Trump’s move to fire Rex Tillerson and assign CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State complicates the policies surrounding the Iran nuclear deal.
The change in position also gets Trump much more influence in the administration as Pompeo is a former Republican lawmaker who has similar views as the President and very deep connections on Capitol Hill.
According to The Hill, Trump emphasized his closeness with Pompeo in comments to reporters Tuesday, while highlighting his relatively chilly relationship with Tillerson, with whom he clashed frequently.
Previously, Trump and Tillerson had a disagreement over the President’s move to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change deal, his demands to end the Iran nuclear deal, the ignoring of the Russian threat and other issues.
“We got along actually quite well, but we disagreed on things,” Trump told reporters. “When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible. I guess he thought it was OK. I wanted to break it or do something, and he felt a little bit differently. So, we were not really thinking the same.”
“Mike Pompeo — we have a very similar thought process,” the President said.
Starting 2011 until 15 months ago Pompeo was representing a Kansas district in the House. Since then he has become a close confidant of Trump while serving as CIA director.
The Hill reported that Pompeo travels frequently to the White House to brief Trump on national security.
The former CIA director has made an image of a fierce critic of the Iran nuclear deal, stating that he looked forward to dismissing the deal, following Trump’s election.
Pompeo in a 2016 op-ed wrote that the deal “virtually guaranteed that Iran will have the freedom to build an arsenal of nuclear weapons.”
Jim Carafano, a foreign policy expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation who was part of Trump’s transition team, described Pompeo as a potential kindred spirit for Trump, adding that Pompeo is more likely to take “tactical risks” in order to accomplish U.S. foreign policy objectives.
“It does seem he’s more willing to poke the system and he’s increasingly more confident in doing that,” Carafano said.
“I don’t expect massive shifts in U.S. foreign policy,” he said. “But I think, tactically, we’re maybe in for a bit more of a wild ride.”