White House fires State Department official after tweets critical of Trump

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A State Department adviser on Iran who expressed anger on Twitter over the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump and said Trump “needs to go,” was fired on Thursday, a U.S. official familiar with the matter said.

FILE PHOTO: The flag of the U.S. State Department flies in Washington, U.S., April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

Gabriel Noronha, a special adviser to the Iran Action group, which handles the State Department’s Iran policy and reports directly to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, accused Trump in a tweet late on Wednesday of inciting the angry mob and said he was no longer fit for office, in a rare public criticism of the president by an administration official.

“President Trump fomented an insurrectionist mob that attacked the Capitol today. He continues to take every opportunity to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power. These actions threaten our democracy and our Republic. Trump is entirely unfit to remain in office, and needs to go,” Noronha said on Twitter.

“All government officials swear to uphold and defend the constitution. That is where our loyalties must lie – not to any man or political party. @JoeBiden has won the election for President and we must all work together to rebuild our economy and defend our nation.”

Noronha was informed by the White House on Thursday that he was being let go, the official said.

Noronha was not immediately available for comment. The State Department and the White House declined to comment.

The chaos in the Capitol on Wednesday unfolded after Trump, who has refused to concede his loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, spent weeks whipping up supporters with false allegations of fraud in the Nov. 3 election.

He had urged his supporters multiple times to come to Washington for a rally on Wednesday, the day the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate met to certify the results of the Electoral College.

Congress formally certified Biden’s election victory early on Thursday, hours after lawmakers were forced out of their legislative chambers by hundreds of rioters who overwhelmed police and invaded the building.

The chaos prompted the top two Democrats in Congress to call for Trump’s removal from office with 13 days left in his presidency.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney