According to a State Department spokesman, Tillerson—who reportedly called the president a "fucking moron" last year—found out he had been fired from Trump's tweet, and was not given a reason for his dismissal.
"The secretary did not speak to the president," Steve Goldstein, State Department undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, said in statement, "but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve."
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
One White House official told CNN that Trump ordered chief of staff John Kelly to call Tillerson last Friday to tell him he was going to be replaced, but the timing of his ouster was not specified.
"This is how the president wanted to do it," the official said, referring to Trump's preference for firing members of his team through Twitter rather than in person.
Pompeo will have to be confirmed by the Senate before he can take Tillerson's spot.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Trump offered a vague explanation for Tillerson's ouster.
"We disagreed on things," Trump said. "When you look at the Iran deal, I think it's terrible. I guess he [unintelligible] it was okay," Trump said. "So we were not really thinking the same. With Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process. I think it's going to go very well."
President Trump: "I think Mike Pompeo will be a truly great Secretary of State. I have total confidence in him, and as far as Rex Tillerson is concerned I very much appreciate his commitment and his service and I wish him well." pic.twitter.com/CdvWBQhuvq— CSPAN (@cspan) March 13, 2018