Dem senator: Tillerson ouster underscores 'chaos' of Trump administration

Dem senator: Tillerson ouster underscores 'chaos' of Trump administration

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate Dems request briefing on Russian bounty wire transfers Democratic senator proposes sanctions against Putin over bounties GOP lawmakers voice support for Israeli plan to annex areas in West Bank MORE (D-N.J.) said on Tuesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpProtesters tear down statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore 'Independence Day' star Bill Pullman urges Americans to wear a 'freedom mask' in July 4 PSA Protesters burn American flag outside White House after Trump's July Fourth address MORE's decision to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the latest sign of chaos within the Trump administration, blasting the president as the "Commander-in-Chaos."

"President Trump has never understood the critical role that the State Department plays in defining our values and promoting our interests abroad, or in advancing our national security and keeping the American people safe. President Trump has demonstrated yet again that he is the Commander-in-Chaos," Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said.

Menendez called Tillerson's leadership at the State Department "misguided," accusing him of leaving the agency in "disarray."

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The New Jersey Democrat's comments came shortly after Trump announced that he would replace Tillerson with CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report To support Hong Kong's freedom, remember America's revolution Senate passes sanctions bill targeting China over Hong Kong law MORE

The abrupt announcement brought to an end Tillerson's tumultuous tenure at the State Department that was, at times, characterized by clashes with Trump over key policies and priorities. 

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyConnecticut senators call for Subway to ban open carry of firearms Democrats optimistic about chances of winning Senate Gridlock mires chances of police reform deal MORE (D-Conn.), another member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also accused Tillerson of being a "poor" secretary of State. But he took a dim view of Pompeo's nomination, saying that the CIA director would only exacerbate what he called a "weakened American diplomacy."

"We should all be alarmed by his ouster because President Trump seems to want someone who does the same thing, only faster and while fawning over the president," Murphy said.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Trump highlighted disagreements with Tillerson on key policy issues, particularly the Iran nuclear deal. By contrast, he said, he and Pompeo are "always on the same wavelength."