Trump Names Tillerson Sec. of State, Russian Connection Raises Concerns
NATIONWIDE - President-elect Donald Trump nominated ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state Monday night.
However, Tillerson's dealings with Moscow and Russian President Vladamir Putin is concerning for some lawmakers, especially after U.S. intelligence officials reported Russia might have been meddling in the 2016 election.
"The fact that Mr. Tillerson seems to have such deep relationships, both business and personal in Russia and with Putin himself is a real question that's going to have to be addressed in depth at his confirmation hearings," said Sen. Angus King of Maine, an Independent.
Trump touted Tillerson's business success as one of the reasons why he thought Tillerson would be good for the job, and said Tillerson's Russian connections would help him as secretary of state.
"In his case, he's much more than a business executive. He's a world class player," Trump said in an appearance on FOX.
Criticism of Tillerson also came from Trump's own party.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio tweeted, "Being a 'friend of Vladamir' is not an attribute I am hoping for from a #secretaryofstate."
Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona also chimed in.
"I have obviously concerns of his relationship with Vladamir Putin who is a thug and a murderer," McCain said. "But we will have hearings on that issue and other issues concerning him."
Tillerson has no formal diplomatic experience. As the head of
ExxonMobil, Tillerson said he didn't support sanctions against Russia
after the country illegally annexed a section of Ukraine. Tillerson
has also cast doubt on the issue of climate change.