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Tuesday, August 9, 2022
HomeNewsPoliticsMarco Rubio to Vote “Yes” on Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State

Marco Rubio to Vote “Yes” on Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State

Former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson testifies during his Senate confirmation hearing. (Photo: Reuters)
Former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson testifies during his Senate confirmation hearing. (Photo: Reuters)

Former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson testifies during his Senate confirmation hearing. (Photo: Reuters)

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the final remaining holdout in the president’s party, announced on Monday he will vote to confirm Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. In a statement posted to social media, the hawkish two-term senator said he still had concerns but “the president is entitled to significant deference when it comes to his choices for the cabinet.”

“Given the uncertainty that exists both at home and abroad about the direction of our foreign policy, it would be against our national interests to have this confirmation unnecessarily delayed or embroiled in controversy,” Sen. Rubio said. “Therefore, despite my reservations, I will support Mr. Tillerson’s nomination in committee and in the full Senate.”

Sen. Rubio wasn’t the only Republican hawk concerned about Mr. Tillerson’s clear preference for objective realism over neoconservative intervention. Sen. John McCain, R-Ari., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also expressed reservations about President Donald J. Trump’s pick for the State Department. Democrats and a few Republican senators wanted assurances Mr. Tillerson, given his history with Moscow, would not be soft on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In 2013, Mr. Putin bestowed the Order of Friendship on Mr. Tillerson, a native of Wichita Falls, Texas. Mr. Tillerson began at Exxon Mobil as a production engineer out of the University of Texas at Austin in 1975 and went on to succeed former CEO Lee Raymond. Under his leadership, Exxon Mobil’s profits helped to make it the most valuable publicly traded company in the world.

However, over the weekend, both Sens. McCain and Graham made clear they would support the former Exxon Mobil CEO, leaving only Mr. Rubio as the remaining holdout.

Rubio said he “must balance these concerns with his extensive experience and success in international commerce.”

Mr. Tillerson’s experience is certainly not confined to Big Oil. He served as director of the United Negro College Fund and the National President of the Boy Scouts of America. The former Eagle Scout also served as chairman of the American Petroleum Institute. He first popped up on President-elect Trump’s radar in November after conversations with former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, both of whom said they would highly recommend Mr. Tillerson for the post.

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