President-elect Donald Trump has made his nomination for Secretary of State, choosing Exxon Mobil’s CEO, Rex Tillerson, and thus bypassing possible candidates Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.
The New York Times reports that Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, was highly in favor of Tillerson. Trump met with Tillerson for more than two hours on Saturday at Trump Tower, and was clearly impressed with what Tillerson could bring to the position.
Tillerson’s business connections to Russia, however, bring some controversy to his nomination, especially during a time when allegations have surfaced of the Russian government’s meddling in the recent U.S. presidential election.
Some have accused Tillerson of being too friendly with Russian president Vladimir Putin--something Trump has also been accused of.
Tillerson will now face the challenge of balancing his business endeavors with his new role as Secretary of State if Congress confirms his nomination, which some say will be a tough fight in the Senate.
Former governor of Massachusetts and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as well as former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani were both in the running for the position of Secretary of State. Romney had been a fierce critic of Trump during the 2016 election, so perhaps it is no surprise Trump did not nominate him. Trump reportedly decided against Giuliani due to the constant media attention Giuliani drew, as well as reports of his business entanglements overseas.
James A. Baker III, the Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, as well as Robert M. Gates, former Defense Secretary, were in favor of Tillerson’s nomination.
Others in the Republican party had their doubts, however, including Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida).
Both McCain and Rubio expressed concern about Tillerson’s connections with Putin.
Tillerson, however, is adept at cutting deals with foreign countries, a skill the Texas native learned through his years involved in the energy business.
Photo courtesy: flickr.com
Publication date: December 13, 2016