Donald Trump is appointing oil chief Rex Tillerson as the next US Secretary of State.
I have chosen one of the truly great business leaders of the world, Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, to be Secretary of State.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2016
The President elect nominated the Exxon Mobil CEO for the position ignoring ‘concerns’ about Tillerson’s alleged close ties with Russia.
Republican Senator John McCain expressed “concern” about Tillerson’s links to Putin, whom the senator called “a thug, a bully and a murderer” during an interview with Fox News.
Press TV reports:
The ExxonMobil’s president and chief executive has managed the company’s business activities in at least 50 countries.
“I can think of no one more prepared, and no one more dedicated, to serve as Secretary of State at this critical time in our history,” Trump said.
Tillerson said he shared Trump’s “vision for restoring the credibility of the United States’ foreign relations and advancing our country’s national security.”
Earlier on Monday night, Trump’s close confidante and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich indicated in a Facebook post that the billionaire would select 64-year-old Tillersron for America’s top diplomatic post.
“Rex Tillerson will be an extremely effective Secretary of State. He knows the world, he knows how to make deals internationally, and although it’s hard for the Washington elites to comprehend that Donald J. Trump could nominate someone who is not a bureaucrat, Tillerson has exactly the right kind of determination and toughness we need to fix the State Department,” he wrote.
Tillerson went to Trump Tower in New York City on Saturday to meet with the real estate magnate, a meeting that drew fire from the both sides of the aisle.
Republican Senator John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the nature of Tillerson’s ties with Moscow was 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,” he told Fox News on Saturday.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and environmental group Green Peace also reacted negatively to the news.
“Trump’s outrageous pick of Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State demonstrates once again that he lied to the country about draining the swamp,” DNC spokesman Adam Hodge said in a statement.
He said the choice amounted to another victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin after the election of the New York businessman, who favors cooperation with Moscow.
Under Tillerson’s management, the energy giant ExxonMobil negotiated a major energy deal with Moscow in 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal. Putin said at the time that the deal could be worth over $500 billion.
A year later, the Russian government awarded Tillerson with the Russian Order of Friendship, one of the country’s most prestigious awards given to foreign nationals.
The deal was halted after Moscow was hit with a set of Western sanctions over US allegations of Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict. ExxonMobil, however, has indicated that it would resume the project once the sanctions are lifted, a process that could be accelerated under Tillerson.