The undersecretary of public affairs at the State Department was fired by the White House Tuesday morning after publicly contradicting the White House account of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's termination.
Steve Goldstein issued a statement saying that Tillerson had "every intention of remaining" at the State Department, and he also stated that Tillerson was made aware of his termination by President Donald Trump's Tuesday morning tweet informing the public.
The official White House story involved Tillerson being notified Friday that he was being replaced.
A senior administration official said Trump asked Tillerson to step aside on Friday and a senior White House official later clarified that chief of staff John Kelly told Tillerson that he would be replaced, but did not specify the timing.
Asked how Tillerson learned of his dismissal, Trump said Tuesday that "Rex and I have been talking about this a long time." He specifically mentioned the Iran nuclear deal as an example of disagreement.
"We were not really thinking the same," Trump said. "With Mike Pompeo, we have a similar thought process."
Goldstein's exit leaves the State Department with just one undersecretary out of six.
The other, Undersecretary for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, plans to retire when his successor is confirmed. Two additional nominees are pending approval by the senate.