The Senate confirmation hearing for Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for U.S. Secretary of State, was held yesterday.
During the hearing, the former Exxon Mobil CEO was asked probing questions particularly about his views of Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
There was controversy when Trump initially nominated Tillerson due to Tillerson’s business ties to Russia. This, coupled with the President-elect’s questionable relationship to Russia and Putin, according to some commentators, is cause for concern.
Tillerson asserted in the hearing that “We will never apologize for who we are or what we hold dear. We will see the world for what it is, be honest with ourselves and the American people, follow the facts where they lead us, and hold ourselves and others accountable.”
He went on to state, according to World News, that “Defeating ISIS must be our foremost priority in the Middle East.”
Criticism of Tillerson came from both Democrats and Republicans.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio pressed Tillerson on whether he would call Putin a “war criminal.” Tillerson responded by saying, “I would not use that term.”
Rubio then proceeded to lay out an extensive list of Putin’s actions in the Middle East, and particularly Aleppo, which he said were unquestionably evidence of the Russian leader’s criminal actions.
Other Senators questioned Tillerson on his business deals with the Kurdistan Regional Government which they alleged threatened the dwindling Christian community in Iraq, according to Christian Today.
"The deals Mr. Tillerson signed exacerbated an already perilous situation for those beleaguered communities. He helped further marginalise the Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac Christians and embolden the territorial expansion into their ancestral homeland ― all with neither consent or input from nor compensation to the indigenous communities of the Nineveh Plain,” stated Sen. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).
Schakowsky went on to urge the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to question Tillerson on whether he will protect marginalized groups, especially in the Middle East.
Republicans have a 11-10 advantage on the confirmation committee, but since some Republicans like Rubio, as well as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, seem skeptical of Tillerson’s qualifications, his confirmation is not yet certain.
Photo courtesy: Wikipedia
Publication date: January 12, 2017