GOP's Rob Portman: Mike Pompeo is 'a good man' and strong choice to replace Tillerson

Rep. Rob Portman: Tillerson's departure doesn't surprise me

CIA Director Mike Pompeo is a strong choice to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, GOP Sen. Rob Portman told CNBC on Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted he plans to appoint Pompeo to replace the former Exxon Mobil chief executive, the latest in a string of personnel changes at the White House. The president picked deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to run the spy agency.

"Pompeo is a good man," the Ohio Republican said on "Squawk Box" as the news, first reported in The Washington Post and then confirmed by the president's tweet, was breaking. "He'll be well regarded," Portman added. "He has a good relationship with the president."

Portman, first elected to the Senate in 2010, is a Washington veteran. Among his committee assignments, he's a member on Foreign Relations. He served more than a decade in the House before holding two posts in the George W. Bush administration.

Tillerson did a good job in his role secretary of State by "changing some of our relationships around the world with some of our allies," Portman said. "[Tillerson] comes to the Foreign Relations Committee and talks to us frequently," he recalled. "I wish him well."

During the 2016 presidential election, Portman had been talked about as a possible vice presidential running mate for Trump.

Tillerson's departure as secretary of State followed a series of public disagreements with Trump. He began to publicly distance himself from Trump after the president's defiant response to violence at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.