Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sen. Marco Rubio could decide fate of Rex Tillerson as secretary of State

At USA TODAY by Ledyard King  -- 

With Republicans holding a one-seat advantage on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Marco Rubio could singlehandedly sink Rex Tillerson’s nomination as secretary of State.

It’s why President-elect Donald Trump’s allies, led by former vice president Dick Cheney, are reportedly waging a full-court press to convince the skeptical Florida Republican he should support Tillerson when the ExxonMobil CEO comes before the panel early next year as part of the confirmation process.

Quoting anonymous sources, The Washington Post reported Friday that Cheney spoke to Rubio in support of Tillerson, whom the former vice president has touted as “an inspired choice.”

If he hasn't already, Rubio also is expected to get a call from Robert McNair. The owner of the Houston Texans football team gave $500,000 last year to a super PAC supporting the senator’s presidential campaign, the newspaper reported.

Rubio has been a hawk on Russia. During his presidential campaign, the Florida senator called Vladimir Putin "a gangster and a thug.”

So it was only natural that Rubio expressed skepticism about Trump's nomination of Tillerson, who has built a close relationship with Putin through the oil business. Putin awarded Tillerson with Russia's Order of Friendship in 2013, a special honor bestowed upon foreign citizens who contribute to Russia’s culture, economy or international relations.


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