House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi slammed President-elect Donald Trump’s selection for secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, Tuesday, saying his ties to Russia make him an unsuitable choice.
Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, has had a long-running working relationship with the country — raising bipartisan concerns from a number of lawmakers. While Tillerson has recieved the support of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, the endorsements have failed to ease the skepticism of not just Democrats like Pelosi, but also Republicans including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
“Choosing an oil executive friendly with Vladimir Putin as Secretary of State sends a disturbing signal about President-elect Trump’s priorities,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Rex Tillerson’s cozy relationship with the Kremlin is especially alarming in light of his attitude toward sanctions over Russia’s aggressive behavior in Europe, while at the same time the President-elect continues to side with Russia over the judgment of the U.S. intelligence community.”
Rubio, McCain and incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have called for thorough confirmation hearings to assure there are no conflicts of interests.
Senate Foreign Relations Cmte members on both sides will ask Mr. Tillerson tough questions on Russia, Putin & the Paris Climate Agreement.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 13, 2016
Pelosi was vocal about her disapproval, questioning Tillerson’s judgement when it comes to protecting the nation’s national security.
“The Secretary of State should champion American values, American security and American interests,” she continued. “Fawning over Putin is poor preparation for being the top diplomat of the United States of America.”
While a battle over his confirmation looms in the Senate, Trump defended his decision.
“The thing I like best about Rex Tillerson is that he has vast experience at dealing successfully with all types of foreign governments,” he tweeted Tuesday.
The thing I like best about Rex Tillerson is that he has vast experience at dealing successfully with all types of foreign governments.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2016
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