ExxonMobil CEO Tillerson ties to Russia worry Sen. Rubio about him being secretary of state
President-elect Donald Trump has named ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as the person he wants to his Secretary of State. He has been at Exxon his entire business career starting as a production engineer straight out of the University of Texas at Austin in 1975 and never left. Groomed for an executive position, Tillerson came up in the rough-and-tumble world of oil production, holding posts in the company’s central United States, Yemen and Russian operations.
It his Russian connection that has Florida Sen. Marco Rubio very unhappy with President-elect Trumps pick. Sen. Marco Rubio sounded off about President-elect Donald Trump’s likely secretary of state pick on Twitter Sunday morning a full two days before the announcement came.
‘Being a “friend of Vladimir” is not an attribute I am hoping for from a #SecretaryOfState,’ Rubio wrote, initialing the tweet to ensure Americans knew it was coming directly from the senator’s mouth.
Rubio, a former political nemesis of the GOP president-elect who eventually endorsed him, was responding to the news that Trump planned to name Tillerson as his top diplomat.
While Tillerson has no government or State Department experience, he does have a relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin because of his business dealings, as the energy company operates in more than 50 countries.
‘Well, in his case, he’s much more than a business executive, I mean he’s a world-class player,’ Trump said, promoting Tillerson on ‘Fox News Sunday.’
‘To me, a great advantage is he knows many of the players, and he knows them well,’ Trump continued. ‘He does massive deals in Russia. He does massive deals for the company – not for himself, for the company.’
But Tillerson’s relationship with Russia is unnerving to some members of Congress, including Rubio and a handful of other Republicans, especially in light of the CIA’s claims that Russian hackers interfered with the American election, to purposely benefit Trump.
Sen. John McCain, the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee, was like Sen. Rubio not too keen on the selection. Speaking Sunday, on the CBS show ‘Face the Nation’ he said that while he believed Tillerson should get a fair hearing, he wasn’t enthusiastic about the oil mans “close ties to Russia.”
Meanwhile, a little more background on the man President-elect Trump wants to head the State Department.
In 2006, Tillerson won the battle to succeed former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond. Under the Texan’s leadership, oil prices broke records and Exxon’s profits helped make it the most valuable public company in the world, with a security force totaling thousands of employees, direct channels with governments worldwide and a strong aversion to American sanctions or limitations on where it could operate.
Tillerson has used ExxonMobil’s enormous profits to explore new regions for oil and gas and to invest in new acquisitions like XTO Resources, a company that had helped pioneer drilling for natural gas in formations of shale in the United States. But over the year’s oil has become more difficult and expensive to find as large, easy-to-tap reservoirs in stable countries were slowly depleted. ExxonMobil and other giant oil corporations found it ever more difficult to replace the oil they sold every day with new resources, and they were forced to look in every more difficult and hostile regions for oil and gas.
But he said it’s clear the risks of climate change to society and ecosystems could be significant, and it’s prudent to develop and implement “sensible strategies that address these risks while not reducing our ability to progress other global priorities such as economic development, poverty eradication and public health.”
Outside the oil industry, Tillerson has served as director of the United Negro College Fund and as chairman of the American Petroleum Institute. A former Eagle Scout, Tillerson also served as the National President of the Boy Scouts of America.
Despite some opposition he is expected to be confirmed.
Some quotes used in this story came from ASSOCIATED PRESS and others from the Trump Transition Team. Video from CBS News.