The Wall Street Journal reports that Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson had a meeting with Donald Trump on Tuesday to discuss becoming his secretary of state.
Tillerson has no previous government experience. So what’s his appeal to Donald? One possibility is that Tillerson, due to his business history, has chummy ties with Vladimir Putin.
Says John Hamre, former deputy defense secretary: “[Tillerson] has had more interactive time with Vladimir Putin than probably any other American with the exception of Henry Kissinger.” Tillerson is just the latest member of Donald’s inner circle with uncomfortably close ties to Russia.
The Charlotte Observer states that “Putin’s association with Tillerson goes back to the 1990s, when Tillerson ran Exxon’s Russian operations. In 2013 the Russian president awarded Tillerson the Order of Friendship, one of Russia’s highest honors for foreigners.”
The potential Secretary of State pick also leads to more conflict of interest issues. As Restore Progress has previously reported Donald’s presidency is already rife with conflicts which he has failed to adequately address. In this case, people question whether Tillerson could be objective on U.S. foreign policy just months removed from big oil.
Exxon’s interests often diverge with U.S. foreign policy, as was the case in 2015 when the U.S. sanctioned Russia’s support of Ukranian rebels, which scuttled Exxon’s $97 billion oil find in Siberia.
This potential Secretary of State pick is especially concerning given that the last presidential position with ties to big oil, Dick Cheney, was a leading cause of the United States getting stuck in Iraq, an oil-rich state.