Trump said in a statement...
“Rex Tillerson’s career is the embodiment of the American dream. Through hard work, dedication and smart deal making, Rex rose through the ranks to become CEO of Exxon Mobil, one of the world’s largest and most respected companies. His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for Secretary of State.”
The media reported that the president-elect met the oil chief for the first time in New York City on Saturday. Trump then tweeted on Tuesday morning that Tillerson was his pick.
Several members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican have expressed concerns about Tillerson’s more than cozy ties to Russia.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has said he has “many questions” about Tillerson’s opposition to Russian sanctions saying in a statement...
“I look forward to meeting Mr. Tillerson and discussing his world view – especially his views of the US-Russian relationship. Based upon his extensive business dealings with the Putin government and his previous opposition of efforts to impose sanctions on the Russian government, there are many questions which must be answered. I expect the US-Russian relationship to be front and center in his confirmation process.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told the media that he has “concerns” with the choice of Tillerson, saying it’s...
“very well known that he has a very close relationship with Vladimir Putin.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) echoed the sentiment...
“The next secretary of state must be someone who views the world with moral clarity, is free of potential conflicts of interest, has a clear sense of America’s interests, and will be a forceful advocate for America’s foreign policy goals to the president, within the administration, and on the world stage,”
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who is the ranking Democrat of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in a statement that Tillerson’s...
“ties to Vladimir Putin and Russia would represent an untenable conflict at the State Department.”
Not helping the situation a Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, praised Tillerson on Monday saying the CEO acted “highly professional” while working previously with Kremlin representatives on oil company business. Peskov said Tillerson, who’s been Exxon’s CEO since 2006, has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin “several times.”
|Putin awarding Rex Tillerson Russia’s Order of Friendship in 2013|
One of those time Tillerson met Putin he was awarded the country’s Order of Friendship by Putin, the highest honors a foreigner may be awarded from Russia, in 2013. The honor was bestowed on Tillerson after he helped broker a deal that involved a drilling program in the Arctic.
Another fact that has raised concerns about Tillerson's appointment is the fact that Exxon Mobil and Russia are involved in oil deals worth upwards of $500 billion dollars (i.e. - half a trillion dollars!!!) that can only go through if the U.S. lifts sanctions against Russia for its actions in eastern Ukraine and it's annexation of Crimea. After receiving the award from Putin Tillerson spoke out strongly against the sanctions at Exxon’s 2014 annual meeting saying...
“We do not support sanctions, generally, because we don’t find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensibly, and that’s a very hard thing to do. So we always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who are they really harming.”
I assume Tillerson is referring to the "collateral damage" Exxon Mobil's wallet experienced due to the sanctions. No conflict of interest here my friends!
After Tillerson was named as Trump's pick for Secretary Of State Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, immediately called on Congress to create a bipartisan commission to investigate Russia’s role in the election.
In addition to his dubious ties to Russia and Putin Tillerson, who was set to retire from Exxon next year, has absolutely zero government experience.