December 12, 2016

Tillerson’s Challenge

Will ExxonMobil’s CEO be an effective secretary of state?

It’s not official yet, but multiple “sources” in Donald Trump’s transition team say he’s going to nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state. Tillerson was a dark horse candidate while most of the media speculation centered on Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, with whom Trump would have had to bury a “yuge” hatchet. If it’s true that Trump went with the dark horse, what are the takeaways?

Basically, two things. Tillerson’s business acumen, like Trump’s, is an asset. Thanks to his being the chief of the world’s largest energy company, he’s clearly a proven negotiator and will have connections around the world to go with his understanding of geopolitics. As Trump put it, “He’s in charge of an oil company that’s pretty much double the size of his next nearest competitor. It’s been a company that’s been unbelievably managed — and to me a great advantage is he knows many of the players, and he knows them well. He does massive deals in Russia — for the company, not for himself.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, Tillerson has “close ties to Vladimir Putin.”

Which leads to Tillerson’s biggest negative, and the story of Russia allegedly influencing the election is just an example of it. Close ties to Putin aren’t exactly an asset right now, given the Leftmedia’s incessant work to paint Trump as Putin’s stooge. Key Senate Republicans John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio have voiced concerns. And as they have done with Trump, Democrats and their Leftmedia super PAC are going to turn everything Tillerson says or does into some sort of corporate conspiracy to enrich Big Oil. Like it or not, that isn’t going to help American foreign policy.

At the same time, one of our major national interests is energy, and if anybody knows how to protect that it might just be Tillerson.

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