December 13, 2016

Udall Statement on Trump's Expected Nomination of Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement about President-elect Trump's plan to nominate Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State:

"The U.S. Secretary of State represents the United States on the world stage. Rex Tillerson is the highly paid CEO for Exxon, a multinational oil company that has made tens of billions of dollars in profit over the years, in part due to its foreign oil interests. And this raises troubling questions about what his agenda might be as America's top diplomat.

"With this nomination, President-elect Trump is blatantly breaking his promise to drain the swamp of wealthy special interests, and instead is proposing to give a position of vital national importance to the leader of a corporation that defends its massive profits by operating one of the largest and most expensive lobbying and political influence efforts we've ever seen. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I believe the Senate should think long and hard before confirming Exxon's CEO to represent the American people's diplomatic interests.

"Mr. Tillerson also reportedly has close personal ties to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government, and has lobbied against sanctioning Russia for its invasion of Crimea - a move that protected Exxon's own oil interests. This deserves particular scrutiny, especially in light of Russia's aggression on the world stage, its record of violating human rights, and the questions that have been raised about its attempt to sway the 2016 presidential election. Just yesterday, I joined the call for an independent commission to investigate Russia's alleged involvement in the 2016 election. We must conduct a complete, transparent and unbiased examination of this unprecedented interference in our democratic process, and we will need Congress and the administration - including the State Department -- to work together to prevent it from happening again and to bolster Americans' faith in our elections.

"Finally, while Mr. Tillerson has recently made statements in support of the Paris Agreement and a carbon tax, Exxon Mobil has a questionable record on this topic, to say the least. Ensuring a coordinated, global response to prevent catastrophic climate change is one of the singular national security and foreign policy challenges of our time, and many Americans have reason to be skeptical that a wealthy CEO of an energy company would put their interests first in this regard.

"I have many questions for Mr. Tillerson; he can expect a thorough confirmation process."