Tillerson’s Firing Had Been Expected, but It Still Stunned Observers

President Trump’s firing of Rex W. Tillerson as secretary of state sent shock waves through the world on Tuesday, leaving many governments initially speechless and raising the prospects of what critics called a more hawkish and rightward turn in United States foreign policy.

Mr. Trump’s unhappiness with Mr. Tillerson, who once called him a " moron ," was well known, and the possibility of his replacement by the C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, was floated last autumn .

Even so, the abruptness of the dismissal — hours after Mr. Tillerson returned from a tour of Africa and on the brink of awaited talks between President Trump and the leader of North Korea — stunned foreign policy experts.

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