President Donald Trump has ousted Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, tweeting in a surprise Tuesday morning announcement that Mr Tillerson will be replaced by Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo. For all of Tillerson's bureaucratic stumbles, some of the president's most bitter adversaries credited the ex-oilman with acting as an adult and serving with dignity even as Trump publicly humiliated him.
He is expected to officially join the State Department when Tillerson leaves the post on March 31.
Widening differences on foreign policies and global issues further escalated the tensions between the two.
"With Mike Pompeo, we have a similar thought process", Trump said. But over time, many lawmakers grew to appreciate Tillerson as a relatively steady hand in the chaotic Trump administration. South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha made a decision to go ahead with a planned trip to Washington to discuss North Korea despite Tillerson's departure, the ministry said in a text message.
In the eyes of some US media outlets, Tillerson had some "successes" in his less than 14-month term, including the growing pressure against Pyongyang to force it to abandon the nuclear project, and the improved ties between Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Pompeo's best chance for success lies in persuading his boss that he is not, as Trump once said, "the only one that matters" in foreign policy.
"We are grateful for the excellent relationship and cooperation that we have had with Rex Tillerson and look forward to that continuing under the new US Secretary of State", Reuters quoted the spokesman as saying.
A Senate Foreign Relations hearing with Tillerson on the State Department budget is now cancelled.
"When the most devastating terrorist attacks on America in the last 20 years come overwhelmingly from people of a single faith and are performed in the name of that faith a special obligation falls on those that are the leaders of that faith", he said.
"Trump did not fire him because he wanted him to be like John Kerry".
One senior White House official said that when Trump made the decision to meet with Kim while Tillerson was in Africa, an aide asked if Tillerson should weigh in on the matter.
Newnham said Trump has shown a willingness to act quickly and without much counsel. Now, Mattis will have to take the lead in National Security Council deliberations, which could lead to tensions with Pompeo down the road. In fact, he is the duo's top funding recipient now in the Trump administration, having taken in more than $1 million during his time in Congress. Tillerson had privately encouraged Trump over the a year ago to stay in the Iran nuclear deal, believing that pulling out would be a greater risk to national security.
In January, he grudgingly signed sanctions waivers "for the last time" - ensuring Washington will live up to its commitments for another 120 days.
"Tillerson had been a voice for avoiding a trade war ..."
"China is not too happy with Tillerson", Feng Zhang, an expert in Chinese foreign policy at the Australian National University, told Business Insider.
"Does that mean that Trump is now likely to scrap the Iranian nuclear deal at the same time that he is meeting with Kim to discuss the denuclearization of North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea)?" he said.
After the announcement, Tillerson tried to draw a distinction between "talks" with North Korea and "negotiations".
Tillerson has pushed Trump to remain in the agreement and had been pursuing a delicate strategy with European allies and others to try to improve or augment it to Trump's liking.