January 05, 2017

Udall Meets with Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson

Urges Tillerson to make his tax returns public before his confirmation hearings begin

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement after meeting with former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, President-elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of State:
"Like many New Mexicans, I am concerned and skeptical about a career executive of a massive oil and gas company - who has no government experience - serving as the nation's Secretary of State. Exxon's overseas oil and gas interests are vast and spread across the world, including in areas of major U.S. foreign policy significance like Russia, Iraq, and Latin America. While I compliment Mr. Tillerson on officially divesting from Exxon, this is an unprecedented nomination for many reasons. I think the American people deserve more assurance than we've received so far that he will be able to represent their values when U.S. policy goals conflict with Exxon's ongoing corporate interests. Mr. Tillerson told me in our meeting that he is willing to make his tax information public, and I strongly urge him to release his tax returns before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearings begin on Wednesday.
"I certainly have some significant disagreements with Mr. Tillerson's recent corporate record, from the appropriate response to Russian aggression on the world stage to the importance of investment in cleaner forms of energy. However, I appreciated the time and attention he devoted to answering my questions today. In particular, I was pleased to learn more about his position on climate change policy. I'm encouraged that, contrary to the extreme statements by President-elect Trump, Mr. Tillerson believes in science and sees value in the United States remaining a party to the Paris Agreement. I also appreciate that, in the past, he has advocated for solutions to reduce carbon emissions rather than denying the existence of climate change. 
"Finally, while I was impressed by Mr. Tillerson's direct answers to my questions, he was unable to clarify what President-elect Trump's policies and positions will be. He will have his work cut out for him as top diplomat if the President of the United States continues his dangerous habit of voicing volatile foreign policy and national security opinions by tweet."