While ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, could face a contentious confirmation process in the Senate, he’ll probably win approval, according to Politico.
The oil executive must overcome resistance from John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The two senators are among those who are questioning Tillerson’s ties to Russia and its controversial leader, Vladimir Putin.
“His relationship in regards to Exxon and Russia, it was more than just a business relationship,” McCain said on CNN. “There’s a personal relationship there, and we need to really drill down and understand whether he will put U.S. interests ahead of personal friendship. Russia is so problematic to many of our issues. We need someone who is going to be very tough on Russia.”
However, Politico reported that Tillerson has the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who announced that he “looks forward to supporting” the nominee. Some senators on the Foreign Relations Committee, including Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee, also have signaled their intent to vote for Tillerson.
According to Corker, he told Trump that “you’re making the best choice for the country and for you at this time.” The senator, who will chair the confirmation hearings, said during an interview on Tuesday: “I’ve got to believe (Tillerson) is very, very savvy. If I look at the people that were pulling for him in the national security community ... his views on Russia are not out of the mainstream. This guy is highly impressive. This guy didn’t just get off the last turnip truck. Rex Tillerson’s got a good sense of the things that people are going to be concerned about.”