The Senate confirmed former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of State today. From The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Tillerson’s confirmation was the most contentious in at least 50 years, coming with the support of only three Democrats—Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.), Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Mark Warner (D., Va.)—and Angus King, a Maine independent who caucuses with the Democrats. The second closest vote in recent memory, by comparison, was for Condoleezza Rice, who won confirmation 85-13 in 2005.
Now, the former business executive, 64 years old, will have to move quickly to get senior staff in place, calm hundreds of career officials who have formally registered their concerns about Mr. Trump’s immigration and refugee policies and carve out a place for himself in the Trump administration’s foreign-policy apparatus, which so far has been dominated by White House aides Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.
The immediate challenges Mr. Tillerson will confront when he enters office, said current and former U.S. officials working on foreign policy, include addressing the rift with Mexico over Mr. Trump’s plans to build a border wall; implementing and dealing with a temporary immigration ban on seven Muslim-majority countries intended to protect against terrorism; and possibly implementing Mr. Trump’s suggestion to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
In the longer term, Mr. Tillerson will be asked to make good on Mr. Trump’s pledge to drastically recast U.S. relations with major global powers Russia and China, to help intensify the war against the terrorist organization Islamic State and revisit the landmark nuclear agreement the Obama administration forged with Iran in 2015.
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