Trump highlights differences with Tillerson, says he's close to Cabinet he wants

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama says not always easy to live up to "we go high" Georgia certifies elections results in bitterly fought governor's race Trump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny MORE on Tuesday praised CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump to speak with CIA about Khashoggi's murder Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Lawmakers struggle with how to punish Saudi Arabia | Trump regrets not visiting Arlington for Veterans Day | North Korea deports detained American Corker: 'A price needs to be paid' for Khashoggi's murder MORE and highlighted his differences with the man Pompeo will be replacing as secretary of State, Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonWhite House ousts Sessions Trump downplays potential turnover: 'Everybody wants to work in this White House' Trump says Cabinet changes likely after midterms MORE.

In comments outside the White House, Trump said he was "close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want” with Tillerson exiting and Pompeo moving to a different role.

"I've worked with Mike Pompeo now for quite some time. Tremendous energy, tremendous intellect. We're always on the same wavelength. The relationship has been very good and that's what I need as secretary of State," Trump said. "I wish Rex Tillerson well."

After praising Gina Haspel, his pick to replace Pompeo at the CIA, Trump said, “I'm really at a point where we're getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want.”

“But I think Mike Pompeo will be a truly great secretary of State. I have total confidence in him.”

Pompeo has been giving Trump briefings and had been rumored as a potential replacement for Tillerson, who frequently clashed with the president.  

Asked if he had discussed the change with Tillerson, Trump said: "I really didn't discuss it very much with him, honestly. I made that decision by myself."


He then noted differences he had with Tillerson, who once reportedly referred to the president as a "moron" in private.

“When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible. I guess he thought it was okay,” the president said of Tillerson.

“I wanted to either break it or do something, and he felt a little bit differently. So we were really not thinking the same.”

The president also said that he believed Tillerson would be “much happier” leaving the State Department.