GOP reaction is cautious to Trump’s pick for Secretary of State

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As President-Elect Donald Trump selected Exxon Mobil chief Rex Tillerson for the job of Secretary of State, the choice quickly faced questions from Republicans within the Senate, as some in Congress openly voiced worries about Tillerson’s past ties to Russia.

“While Rex Tillerson is a respected businessman, I have serious concerns about his nomination,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who pointedly said the next Secretary of State must be “free of potential conflicts of interest.”

For the President-Elect, Tillerson’s experience as an oil chief is a definite plus.

“The thing I like best about Rex Tillerson is that he has vast experience at dealing successfully with all types of foreign governments,” Mr. Trump said this morning.

“Rex knows how to manage a global enterprise, which is crucial to running a successful State Department,” Mr. Trump added.

In picking Tillerson, the President-Elect opted against others like Sen. Bob Corker, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who will lead the Senate’s confirmation hearings.

“Mr. Tillerson is a very impressive individual and has an extraordinary working knowledge of the world,” said Corker, whose committee only has a 10-9 advantage for Republicans, meaning any defections could end Tillerson’s hopes.

One Senator on that committee, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, endorsed Trump’s pick immediately.

Other Republicans in the Senate were taking a wait and see attitude, like Sen. James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma.

As the hours ticked by after Mr. Trump’s announcement, most Republicans stayed on the sidelines; meanwhile, Democrats attacked.

“Aside from his utter lack of diplomatic experience, Mr. Tillerson’s cozy ties to Vladimir Putin and Russia would represent an untenable conflict at the State Department,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY).

As for the reaction in Russia to the choice of Tillerson, it has been very positive.


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