Donald Trump will reportedly choose Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as nominee for Secretary of State:
Diplomacy in the world of Donald Trump is going to be directed by the CEO of Exxon Mobil, one of the world’s largest oil companies.
The President-elect tapped Rex Tillerson, a private sector Texan with no formal diplomatic experience, to be Secretary of State on Saturday according to NBC news.
The good news is that Trump didn’t choose Giuliani or Romney for the top job, but it is still a curious and questionable selection. The bad news is that Tillerson has no diplomatic experience, and if confirmed he would be the first Secretary of State that I know of with no experience at all in government. While he may have international business experience, it doesn’t follow that he will be suited to to the task of managing U.S. relations with the rest of the world. If Giuliani and Romney weren’t qualified for the position, it is hard to see what makes Tillerson any more qualified.
Tillerson reportedly has ties with Putin because of his background in the oil industry. Those ties might be useful in pursuing improved relations with Moscow, but they are also likely to make his confirmation much more difficult on account of the intense hostility he is sure to encounter from hard-liners in the Senate. We might guess at what his foreign policy views are on various issues, but that is all we would be doing.
The very bad news is that John Bolton is reportedly being brought on as Tillerson’s deputy:
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.
That’s better than putting Bolton in charge, but not by much. The fact that Bolton is receiving a top job anywhere in the administration is an indictment of Trump’s judgment and a sign of just how reckless and aggressive U.S. foreign policy is likely to be in the coming years.