Trump picks ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state
President-elect Donald Trump has chosen ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state, CBS News reported.
Mr. Trump's decision was announced by his transition team Tuesday morning, according to CBS News.
I have chosen one of the truly great business leaders of the world, Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, to be Secretary of State.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2016
"As Secretary of State, he will be a forceful and clear-eyed advocate for America's vital national interests, and help reverse years of misguided foreign policies and actions that have weakened America's security and standing in the world," the announcement said. "The American people will once again have a world-class leader working on their behalf, enhancing the prospects for peace and prosperity among nations."
The transition team's announcement quotes Mr. Trump as saying "Rex Tillerson's career is the embodiment of the American dream."
And Tillerson is quoted as saying, "I am honored by President-elect Trump's nomination and share his vision for restoring the credibility of the United States' foreign relations and advancing our country's national security. We must focus on strengthening our alliances, pursuing shared national interests and enhancing the strength, security and sovereignty of the United States."
The confirmation process could prove highly contentious, with some leading lawmakers already voicing concern about Tillerson's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and in light of reports that U.S. intelligence agencies believe Moscow was working not only to interfere in the U.S. election, but to actively promote Mr. Trump. He has, however, rejected such conclusions, calling them "ridiculous."
As UNIAN reported earlier, according to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Tillerson has perhaps the closest ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. As Exxon's CEO, Mr. Tillerson has spoken against sanctions on Russia. This pre-existing relationship with Mr. Putin complements Mr. Trump's push to improve U.S.-Russia ties.