If the reports circulating this weekend are true, Donald Trump has picked Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State:
“WASHINGTON — Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, whose extensive deal-making for the energy giant has plunged him into global politics from Yemen to Russia, is expected to be offered the secretary of state post this weekend by President-elect Donald J. Trump, according to two people close to Mr. Trump’s transition team.
Mr. Tillerson has close ties with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, whom he has known for more than two decades. Russia awarded Mr. Tillerson its Order of Friendship in 2013, the year before Washington’s relationship with Moscow was plunged into a deep freeze over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its shadow war in eastern Ukraine. …”
I’m relieved it wasn’t Mitt Romney, but …
1.) We don’t know much about Rex Tillerson’s political views. We only know for certain that he is a strong supporter of Common Core which is irrelevant at the State Department and that he doesn’t like energy regulations. Otherwise, Rex Tillerson is a mystery pick without much of a record who could turn out any number of ways.
2.) We do know that Rex Tillerson is a typical Texas energy corporate executive. We know he is a Business Roundtable man. So there is that.
3.) The Lügenpresse is making hay out of Tillerson’s ties to Russia. He was awarded the Order of Friendship by Vladimir Putin. This, however, proves nothing about Rex Tillerson’s politics. The oil majors have always done business in authoritarian countries: Russia, Libya, Algeria, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, South Sudan, Nigeria, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Venezuela, etc.
4.) If it is true that John Bolton is going to be Deputy Secretary of State, we dodged a bullet but the king of the neocons is still going to be the second most important voice at the State Department. That’s nothing to celebrate. In fact, it is alarming that John Bolton is anywhere near the State Department after Iraq.
Finally, there is this … the fact that Trump’s victory has produced a single nationalist/populist Cabinet pick, Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has been in the Senate for the last 20 years. Sessions is the closest thing to an “outsider.”
This is the current breakdown of the Reince Revolution:
Vice President Mike Pence
Deputy Secretary of State John Bolton
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
Deputy National Security Adviser KT McFarland
CIA Director Mike Pompeo
Chief of Staff Reince Preibus
Secretary of the Interior Cathy McMorris Rodgers
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley
Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao
Secretary of Homeland Security General John Kelly
National Security Adviser Lt. General Michael Flynn
Secretary of Defense General James Mattis
Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross
Major Republican Donors
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos
Deputy Secretary of Commerce Todd Ricketts
Secretary of State – Rex Tillerson (Exxon Mobil)
Business Advisory Council – Stephen Schwarzman (Blackstone Group)
American Manufacturing Council – Andrew Liveris (Dow Chemical)
National Economic Council – Gary Cohn (Goldman Sachs)
Secretary of Labor – Andrew Puzder (CKE Restaurants)
Small Business Council – Linda McMahon (WWE)
Chief Strategist Steve Bannon
Attorney General Jeff Sessions
The only two names that stand out on this list are Jeff Sessions and Steve Bannon (and maybe you could argue Michael Flynn), but everyone else could have just as easily been in the Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney Cabinet.