“Paired” with John Bolton as his deputy Secretary of State
While this has yet to be confirmed by President-elect Trump or his team, NBC News is reporting that CEO Rex Tillerson will be nominated for Secretary of State with John Bolton serving as his second.
Donald Trump is expected to nominate Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state, two sources close to the transition process told NBC News on Saturday.
Tillerson, 64, became president of the Texas-based oil company in 2004 and has a close business relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has spent his entire career at the company now known as Exxon Mobil.
The sources cautioned that nothing is final until the president-elect officially announces it, likely next week.
Tillerson met Saturday with Trump at Trump Tower in New York, the president-elect’s spokesperson confirmed.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 10, 2016
NBC News continues:
Tillerson will be paired with former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton as his deputy secretary of state for day-to-day management of the department, one source added.
As secretary of state, Tillerson would be fourth in line to the presidency.
McClatchy has more information about Tillerson.
Tillerson will face confirmation hearings in the Senate.
The CEO, who made $27.3 million in salary last year, has some policy differences with the President-elect.
Tillerson believes in man-made climate change and supports the Paris climate agreement, but Trump has indicated he will pull out of the agreement when he assumes the presidency.
Exxon has been criticized for denying climate change in public while privately preparing its oil infrastructure for rising sea levels during the 1980s and 1990s, although the company called for a carbon tax starting in 2009.
In 2012, Tillerson told the Council on Foreign Relations that the U.S. should focus on the reliability of energy over the potential concerns of foreign countries producing energy consumed by Americans.
“I think what the U.S. policy and what’s in the best interest of American consumers has been and should be — is securing access to energy in a reliable, relatively affordable way,” Tillerson said. “And if we’re able to do that, where it comes from should be of little consequence to us.”
But Tillerson has close ties with Russia and Vladimir Putin that go back to the 1990s, when Tillerson ran Exxon’s Russian operations. In 2013, Putin awarded Tillerson the Order of Friendship, one of Russia’s highest honors for foreigners.
“Anything Trump and Exxon do is going to be controversial,” said Jim Krane, an expert on energy geopolitics at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. “If Trump really wanted to pursue his campaign goals of bettering U.S. relations with Russia, Tillerson would be someone who could probably carry that out. He’s on pretty good terms with Russia.”
Tillerson’s lack of formal diplomatic or political experience is unprecedented for a secretary of state in modern times. Private-sector leaders like Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson have made the jump into Cabinet positions, but the role of secretary of state has gone to former politicians, diplomats or academics.
In 2013, Putin awarded Tillerson the Order of Friendship (one of Russia's highest honors). Has any other American won this award?
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) December 10, 2016
The New York Times reports that the award was made in 2012, not 2013.
Presumably, the Bolton move is intended to quell any concerns that Trump supporters might have about this nomination for Secretary of State.
According to news reports, Rex Tillerson, head of Exxon Mobil, as likely Secretary of State. If true, this is… https://t.co/AVABHFXu8K
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) December 10, 2016
ExxonMobil Chairman Tillerson, likely SOS, has a relationship with Russia and Putin? Good, the US could use a REAL reset, for once. Go Trump
— Christopher E Ringue (@ATLANTA_LEGAL) December 10, 2016
Again, this is unconfirmed by the Trump team, so we will update as more is learned.
Transition Update: No announcements on Secretary of State until next week at the earliest. #MakeAmericaGreatAgain
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) December 10, 2016
Why not announce today? Who knows? This may be just another Trump media play.