Tuesday, December 13, 2016
WASHINGTON DC — Win Without War released the following statement following Donald Trump’s nomination of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as the next Secretary of State.
From his personal conflicts of interest and his coziness with Russia, to his lack of experience and unknown policy positions, Mr. Tillerson is a baffling choice which must be closely scrutinized by Congress. At a time when America needs steady leadership on the global stage, Mr. Tillerson appears to be the wrong man for the job.
If confirmed, Mr. Tillerson would become America’s chief diplomat having never served a day in the public sector previously and with no known record on some of the most important issues he will immediately oversee. He has spent his entire career at ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company. At ExxonMobil, Tillerson routinely put Big Oil expansion and profits ahead of concerns for human rights, downplayed the risks of climate change, and sometimes took positions directly at odds with America’s national interests. The potential conflicts of interest for Tillerson given his tenure at ExxonMobil — a company who is under investigation for misleading investors about the effects and reality of climate change — are immense and must be the focus of congressional scrutiny.
The world today is littered with complex crises requiring skilled American diplomacy to resolve. Whether it is tension in the South China Sea or conflict in the Middle East, America needs diplomatic solutions now more than ever, and yet Mr. Tillerson’s resume gives no indication he is up to the task. Further, his lack of public positions on major issues is deeply troubling. Congress must seek to discover what exactly Mr. Tillerson believes and which policies he would pursue as Secretary of State.
Further, bipartisan Congressional concern has already been raised over Tillerson’s close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Tillerson’s repeated willingness to turn a blind eye to some of the most egregious human rights violations by Russia — and in other countries under dictatorial regimes — should be disqualifying for someone hoping to represent America on the global stage. Further, coming on the heels of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, Tillerson’s close ties to Russia raises unprecedented concerns about foreign influence in the Trump Administration. These concerns must be addressed in a robust and thorough Congressional inquiry.
Finally, in nominating Tillerson, President-elect Trump is continuing to demonstrate an alarming opposition and hostility to the very voters who supported him. In handing over America’s foreign policy keys to an oil executive, Mr. Trump is once again showing his campaign’s populism to be nothing but empty rhetoric. Americans – who overwhelmingly want our government to confront climate change – deserve better than a Big Oil CEO whose every action will raise the question of whose interests he’s putting first – his own and those of ExxonMobil or the nation he is supposed to be serving.
America deserves a champion for us, not a champion for Big Oil as our nation’s chief diplomat.
For further comment, questions, or to discuss the broader concerns about Trump’s national security cabinet picks, please feel free to contact Stephen Miles, Win Without War’s Director, at Stephen@winwithoutwar.org or 504-289-3594