The White House on Tuesday fired a state department official who released a statement revealing that Rex Tillerson did not speak to President Donald Trump about his firing on Tuesday morning and that he was unaware of the reasons for his ouster, according to reports from the Associated Press, NBC News and CNN.
Steve Goldstein, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, released the statement Tuesday morning, calling into question whether the White House gave Tillerson a heads up ahead of Trump’s tweet announcing his replacement.
The Secretary did not speak to the President this morning and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling and not to be regretted.
We wish Secretary-Designate Pompeo well
— Steve Goldstein (@UnderSecPD) March 13, 2018
Two unnamed officials told the Associated Press that Goldstein was informed by the White House that he was fired shortly after issuing the statement.
The statement contradicted the White House narrative that Tillerson was informed of the decision on Friday. Several reports have indicated that Tillerson was informed by the White House on Friday to expect announcement concerning him, though it’s unclear just how detailed the warning was.
Goldstein confirmed his firing in a statement Tuesday.
“I was proud to speak on behalf of the Secretary of State to the American people and allies throughout the world, and this has been the honor of a lifetime. It’s within the purview, you are appointed by the administration and you are appointed for the time being. That is what is listed on your commission and it is determined by the White House who they want in these roles,” he said. “I don’t have regret, other than you always want to try to do more, but I feel proud of what we achieved and I am so impressed by the Secretary of State. He is truly a great man. I look forward to getting more rest and hopefully winning an indoor rowing competition.”
JUST IN: Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein is being fired for contradicting the account of Rex Tillerson’s dismissal, White House official tells @PeterAlexander
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) March 13, 2018
Breaking: Undersecretary of State who contradicted WH line on #Tillerson firing is fired himself. Steve Goldstein tells CNN he was informed by WH personnel office.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) March 13, 2018