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

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

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezAs NFIP reauthorization deadline looms, Congress must end lethal subsidies Senate Democrats warn Trump: Don't invite Putin to G-7 Pelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid MORE (D-N.J.) said on Tuesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest 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 PompeoClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Senate Judiciary Committee requests consultation with admin on refugee admissions State Department's top arms control official leaving 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 MurphyDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Trump administration floats background check proposal to Senate GOP 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."