Pompeo Could Succeed Where Tillerson Failed

A question of trust.

Photographer: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The most important qualification for any secretary of state is the trust of the president. Rex Tillerson never had it. Mike Pompeo already does, which may give him a better chance at succeeding where his predecessor failed.

Pompeo, currently director of the CIA, is Donald Trump's choice to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whom the president constantly undermined with critical quotes and tweets. Tillerson also had policy differences with Trump, supporting both the Paris accord on climate change and the Iran nuclear deal. Meanwhile, Tillerson's aggressive budget cuts and an ill-conceived reorganization plan alienated potential allies in both the State Department and Congress.

Pompeo, a former member of Congress, may prove more adept at winning friends on Capitol Hill. And he has won favor with Trump through his hawkish views on Iran, his willingness to aggressively defend the administration's foreign policy and his former military service.