On Tuesday, March 13, the announcement of the imminent departure and replacement of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was one of the biggest news stories in the 24-hour news cycle. During the course of the day, The Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio interviewed several Republican newsmakers who provided some of the first extensive comments shedding some significant light on the developments.
Below are excerpts of three of the day’s key interviews, provided by representatives of the Fox outlets that they appeared on.
Donald Trump, Jr. on The Brian Kilmeade Show
In an interview presented today on FOX News Radio’s (FNR) The Brian Kilmeade Show (weekdays 9AM-12PM/ET), executive vice president of the Trump Organization and President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., discussed the news that CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been tapped to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Below are highlights of the interview with host Brian Kilmeade.
On why he thinks there’s a “problem of an entrenched State Department”:
“That is the problem with these Washington bureaucrats. I think Tillerson is an incredible guy, a brilliant guy, running Exxon, but I think you also have a problem of an entrenched State Department where all of these former Obama people are in there. They are more concerned of making sure Trump doesn’t do anything than they are about worrying about America and their future standing in the world. Again, we have to figure out those issues as well, my father obviously can’t do that himself, he can’t know all two billion [sic; “two million” perhaps?] employees of the federal government and deal with it. But, you need people in those positions who will deal with it, and who aren’t going to be susceptible to the swamp, who aren’t going to just listen to this bureaucratic gospel and take it as such. People who will actually make intelligent and independent decisions based on what is right for America for a change.”
On the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and appointment of the current CIA Director Mike Pompeo:
“I don’t know the inner workings of what is going on down there. Obviously, both very bright people. I think my father has a unique way of doing things and that doesn’t always work with everyone, we’ve seen that. I think it is very effective….For my father he needs to get guys that understand the way he works, that will do that, will take those chances and push the envelope, and not everyone is willing to do that.”
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) on America’s Newsroom
In an interview presented this morning on FOX News Channel’s (FNC) America’s Newsroom, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) reacted to the announcement that CIA Director Mike Pompeo will now become the Secretary of State, replacing Rex Tillerson. He also commented on Gina Haspel replacing Director Pompeo: “Everybody is going to make a big deal that this is the first female director of the CIA and that’s a good thing, but it’s really about her brain power and her intellectual understanding of the CIA.” Additionally, he discussed the news that the House Intelligence Committee closed its investigation into Russia collusion with the Trump campaign, and what happens next.
On Gina Haspel replacing CIA Director Mike Pompeo:
“Gina is a no non-sense public servant and quite frankly, I can’t think of a better person to step in Director Pompeo’s shoes. I’ve actually had the opportunity to meet with her on one or two occasions and what I found is not only does she have the ability to make critical decisions at the right time but she has unbelievable institutional knowledge, so what we’re going to find is she, because of her tenure with the CIA, you know everybody is going to make a big deal that this is the first female director of the CIA and that’s a good thing, but it’s really about her brain power and her intellectual understanding of the CIA and how it operates that I really applaud this morning and again can’t think of a better choice to replace Director Pompeo.”
On President Trump replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo:
“You know I can tell you, I’ve served with Mike Pompeo. He and his wife are dear friends of mine, but it’s more than a friendship. It’s really about an ability, and you heard the president there speaking. Mike, Director Pompeo and the president have had this personal relationship since early days – really one of the first nominees to be confirmed, and so that relationship was not only powerful but it was an honest and candid exchange that they would have almost on a daily basis, the daily briefings that he would get from Director Pompeo, so I fully support it. It couldn’t have been a better decision. Obviously as we go into these talks with North Korea, if you’re going to make a change now’s the time to make the change so we fully support the president in that decision.”
On reports that Secretary Tillerson was unaware of the reason for the president’s decision and had the intension to stay in his position:
“Well Secretary Tillerson and I have been able to work together on a number of issues. I’m on the foreign affairs committee and he’s a thoughtful individual and has served our country well. But as we all know, as you have reported and a number of people have reported, there have been some differences in terms of where this president and this administration wants to take the State Department and the engagement internationally and those differences, while they may be minor in terms of scope, from a foreign policy perspective you have to be on really the same agenda. So, you know, I wish the secretary well. He’s done a good job while he’s been here and yet at the same time this reshuffling is pretty typical. You get this kind of reshuffling as you go in to the out years of the first administration and making sure that the chemistry matches and I think that’s what you heard the president talking about is Director Pompeo and his chemistry works very well.”
On the House Intelligence Committee closing its investigation into Russia collusions with the Trump campaign:
“The case is closed. Let me tell you – it’ll enter a new phase where we start to look at some of the collusion that perhaps has come out and is not with the Trump campaign, it’s with the Democrat campaign.”
Representative Ron DeSantis (R-FL) on Happening Now
In an interview presented this morning on FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Happening Now, Representative Ron DeSantis (R-FL) reacted to the announcement that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is out. He also commented on CIA Director Mike Pompeo replacing Tillerson as Secretary of State and stated, “He [Pompeo] sees the world with very clear eyes and he is a formidable adversary for people who want to do the United States harm.” Below are highlights from the interview.
On Rex Tillerson being out as Secretary of State:
“It had been rumored as you know, John, for a number of months that he was not going to last that long, and Mike had been rumored. Now, it is true over the last month and a half it had kind of quieted down, so in that sense I was kind of surprised it had happened now, but at the end of the day, look, a president doesn’t need to have great rapport with like a HUD secretary or an interior secretary, but when we’re talking about the secretary of state, it’s important when that secretary of state is traveling around the world that other nations realize that that individual speaks for the president. And I think, you know, Rex is a great American. I think, he worked hard and did some good things, but there wasn’t the rapport with the president. They had disagreements on some things. And I think Mike is somebody, he’s obviously very well qualified. I think the CIA is actually good preparation because he really understands the hot spots even better now, but he has a rapport with the president. They see eye-to-eye on these issues, so I think when Mike is over in say the Koreas, or if he’s over dealing with Russia or the Middle East, I think people are going to know that he speaks for the president.”
On Secretary of State Tillerson and President Trump not seeing eye-to-eye:
“I think that’s right. I think the same could be true for the Iran deal in terms of how the president approached that versus how Rex wanted to do it, and I think who will mesh on those. Mike understands the dangers posed by North Korea. He understands Kim Jung-Un, is somebody who is a formidable adversary and is not going to be looking to simply disarm, but at the same time I think Mike appreciates this president taking a different approach, really shaking up the situation and really perhaps providing an opening where we can get some different results that we have for the past 25 years.”
On whether he perceived that Tillerson was soft on Russia and if things will change with Mike Pompeo in charge:
“I didn’t really perceive that, although now the democrats are saying, oh because Tillerson was somewhat tough, that’s why Trump is getting rid of him which is just nonsense. Mike is tough. I was in the congress with Mike. We were both working side-by-side to provide lethal aid to Ukraine during the Obama administration and it’s interesting because a lot of those democrats including President Obama opposed providing lethal aid to Ukraine. They were looking to prevent Russian aggression. President Trump has supported providing lethal aid to Ukraine. I think there have been other areas where they’ve been tough. Mike is as tough as it’s going to going to get. He sees the world with very clear eyes and he is a formidable adversary for people who want to do the United States harm.”
On Tuesday afternoon (PT), the Fox News Channel also announced that:
Tonight on FOX News Channel’s (FNC) The Ingraham Angle (weeknights 10PM/ET), host Laura Ingraham will present an exclusive interview with chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Bob Corker (R-TN). During the interview, Sen. Corker will discuss the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. A full transcript of the interview will be sent out later this evening.
When: Tuesday, March 13th at 10PM/ET
Where: FOX News Channel (FNC)