Donald Trump has noted that Rex Tillerson, a chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, is in the running for the coveted Secretary of State position. However, it seems that if President-Elect Donald Trump opts to offer the Exxon CEO the top position in his cabinet, he may run into trouble getting him confirmed despite having a majority Republican Senate.
Whether I choose him or not for "State"- Rex Tillerson, the Chairman & CEO of ExxonMobil, is a world class player and dealmaker. Stay tuned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2016
The Daily Mail reports that Marco Rubio has publicly denounced the idea of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State calling him a “friend of Vladimir.”
Being a "friend of Vladimir" is not an attribute I am hoping for from a #SecretaryOfState – MR
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 11, 2016
Rubio noted that being a friend with the Russian leader is not an “attribute” he wants to see in Secretary of State seemingly calling out Trump for considering Tillerson for the position. Rubio isn’t alone in GOP regarding his opposition to Tillerson as Secretary of State. John McCain has also voiced his “concern” over the CEO’s “ties to Russia.”
The Hill reports that John McCain honestly noted that he does not know the extent of Tillerson’s relationship with Putin. However, he calls it a “matter of concern.”
“I don’t know what Mr. Tillerson’s relationship with Vladimir Putin was, but I’ll tell you it is a matter of concern to me.”
With both Marco Rubio and John McCain seemingly opposed to the confirmation of Tillerson as Secretary of State, it may be impossible for the President-Elect to have the cabinet members of his choosing. It would take just three Senators to join the Democrat opposition to deny Tillerson the position. If both Rubio and McCain oppose the confirmation, just one more GOP member is needed. With Mitt Romney as the purported secondary contender for the top Cabinet position, it may not be difficult for Rubio and McCain to find another Senator to join their efforts.
UPDATE: There will be no announcements on Secretary of State until next week at the earliest. #TrumpTransition
— Transition 2017 (@transition2017) December 11, 2016
It is unclear if Tillerson will actually be Trump’s chosen pick as his Transition Team says the decision has not been made. In fact, the official Transition 2017 Twitter account notes that the Secretary of State position will not be announced until next week at the earliest.
While many have voiced concerns over the “Russian ties,” others have pointed out that as CEO of Exxon, Tillerson has ties with many countries. These ties are also a notable reason that Trump himself revealed is a main reason he is in the running for the top position is due to the fact he is a “world class player and deal maker.”
Media is freaking out that Rex Tillerson has ties to Russia. Its true that he does. He also has relationships with: pic.twitter.com/IhOQ1Uuc9S
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) December 11, 2016
Forbes notes that there are many qualities the Tillerson possesses that may make him a successful Secretary of State. Among those qualities is his ability to negotiate, management skills, and that he “knows world leaders and understands their motivations.” While he is being criticized for his Russian connections, he also has connections across the globe and Forbes notes that these connections may make him a very effective State official. Regarding the “conflicts of interest,” Forbes claims that the concern is unfounded as cabinet officials often come from the private sector.
“First, the U.S. regularly has private sector executives take major roles in other federal departments. For example, the Treasury Secretary has frequently come from Wall Street. Second, if private sector entanglement becomes a litmus test, the U.S. will not be able to benefit from private sector experience and talent.”
What do you think about Trump’s potential nomination of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State? Do you think the Exxon CEO will have difficulty being confirmed by the Senate should Trump offer him the position? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by John Raoux/AP Images]