Mike Pompeo Has What Rex Tillerson Didn’t: ‘Killer Graphics’ and Trump’s Trust

Not much is predictable about President Donald Trump’s White House. But around 11 a.m. on any given day, you would likely find CIA chief Mike Pompeo in the Oval Office, briefing the commander-in-chief. For 30 minutes or so, Pompeo would help Trump digest the country’s most closely held secrets about the world’s most pressing conflicts. He used “killer graphics” to keep Trump on point. He carved out time for general “knowledge building” on long-term strategy. He fielded Trump’s questions on any number of topics.

In other words, long before Trump’s announcement Tuesday morning on Twitter that Pompeo is replacing Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, Pompeo, a former congressman, was doing what Tillerson had not — bonding with the first American president never to have served either in politics or the military. When Trump and his advisers gather for their national security policy meetings in the Situation Room, Trump goes around the table. First, Pompeo offers Trump the CIA’s latest analysis on the issue at hand, says a senior administration official. Then, he waits. Inevitably, Trump returns to his top spy. “Mike,” the Trump asks, “what do you think I should do?”

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!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018

Pompeo’s standing with Trump is such that the major question raised by his abrupt transfer to the State Department — once approved by the Senate, as it almost surely will be — is whether it amounts to a promotion of U.S. diplomacy. The State Department has withered under Tillerson, who proposed slashing its budget and left key posts unfilled, decimating morale across the Foreign Service. Aggravating the decline was the rocky relationship between Tillerson and Trump. Trump mocked Tillerson on Twitter, and publicly broke with his top diplomat on approaches to scuffles with Qatar, and North Korea. On North Korea, Trump said Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”

I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man…

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2017

Meanwhile, at the CIA, Pompeo has earned Trump’s trust heading the federal agency the President entered office most clearly perceiving as an enemy. By the time of his inauguration, Trump was shoulder-deep in an extraordinary public feud with the entire national intelligence apparatus, which together had concluded that Russia tried to tip the 2016 election in his favor. “Are we living in Nazi Germany?” he asked on Twitter. He praised WikiLeaks, the CIA’s enemy. And when it came to the Presidential Daily Briefing, he dismissed the need for it outright, saying he was “a smart person.” In a world full of challenging decisions, “That …read more

Source:: Time – Politics


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