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Five things to know about Trump’s pick for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson




NEW YORK – Conservative criticism of Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of State is beginning to mount, as Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal White House correspondent Fred Lucas points out with five things conservatives find problematic about Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson:

  1. Russian Ties 

Tillerson worked out a deal five years ago with the Russians that provided access Arctic oil for Exxon Mobil. Lucas writes:

After Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea, Exxon Mobil halted the deal because of U.S. sanctions, which Tillerson opposed, saying, “We do not support sanctions, generally, because we don’t find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensively, and that’s a very hard thing to do.”

 2. Opposition from social conservatives

Tillerson's company directly supports Planned Parenthood, and as national chairman of the Boy Scouts, Tillerson was instrumental in opening the organization to homosexual activists, Lucas writes:

“Under his chairmanship, Exxon Mobil’s score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate ‘Equality’ Index has … skyrocketed to 87 percent,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins wrote.

Perkins continued to attack Tillerson’s record on social conservative issues:

Still, Trump calls Rex a “world-class player and dealmaker,” but if these are the kinds of deals Tillerson makes—sending dollars to an abortion business that’s just been referred for criminal prosecution and risking the well-being of young boys under his charge in an attempt to placate radical homosexual activists—then who knows what sort of ‘diplomacy’ he would champion at [the Department of State]?

3. History with Exxon

Tillerson worked his way up through the ranks of Exxon, a concern Lucas points out:

While Tillerson was the CEO, oil prices broke records and Exxon Mobil’s profits helped make it the most valuable publicly traded company in the world, according to the Associated Press. Tillerson used the company’s profits to explore new regions for oil and acquire XTO Energy Inc., a pioneer in drilling shale to obtain natural gas.

Trump has owned between $50,000 and $100,000 in Exxon Mobil stock, ABC News reported, citing Trump’s 2015 financial disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission.

4. Establishment backing 

GOP establishment are happy with the Tillerson choice, the Daily Signal piece says.

[Former Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who both served under President George W. Bush, reportedly recommended Tillerson to Trump. Rice and Gates, both consultants, reportedly count Exxon Mobil among their clients.

In August 2015, Tillerson gave $5,000 to the Right to Rise super PAC supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for president. In 2012, Tillerson contributed $50,000 toward getting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney elected president, according to ABC News. However, there is no record of him contributing to Trump.

5. Trans-Pacific Partnership Supporter

Tillerson is on record supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

“Even when a nation does not have a rich endowment of resources, we have learned that open markets and free trade can bring nations the energy supplies they need,” Tillerson said in a June 3, 2013, speech at the Asia Society Global Forum in the District of Columbia, adding:

But only governments can open the avenues of free trade. … One of the most promising developments on this front is the ongoing effort for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The 11 nations that have been working to lower trade barriers and end protectionist policies under this partnership are a diverse mix of developed and developing economies. But all of them understand the value of open markets to growth and progress for every nation.

Read the rest of Lucas' evaluation HERE.


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  1. Poor Trump is so insecure that he thinks he has to debunk the idea of Russian hacking in favor of Hillary because that idea would some how make his victory less legitimate. That is not true because most of the people who read the hacked email stories were already committed to Trump or Hillary anyway for other reasons and the news did not influence many voters at all. Trump likely would have won anyway because Hillary was such a bad candidate with so much baggage that only her die hard backers could trust her. But Tillerson and Trump are way too chummy with Putin for different reasons. Like most CEOs of large multi-national corporations, Tillerson is amoral because he puts his company bottom line above all other considerations. That is OK if you are working for a private company but not OK if you are supposed to put the interests of the U.S. first. In the case of Trump, who has made several very good cabinet choices, his natural hubris makes him think he can charm Putin into being our friend instead of our natural enemy. Trump is working out better than I feared but he still has a long way to go to grow up in the job and overcome his lifelong arrogant and childish habits. I am still praying he can do that fast enough to have a good first year.

  2. # 7 Tillerson, who has been president of Exxon Mobil since 2004, has a very “close business relationship” with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In addition to the Texas-based oil giant’s numerous joint ventures with Rosneft, Russia’s largest state-owned oil company, Putin awarded Tillerson his country’s Order of Friendship decoration in 2013.
    He’s a Russian employee.