Back in November Rudy Giuliani emerged as the favorite to become Donald Trump’s first secretary of state. That is no longer true, as Trump has announced the former New York City mayor’s withdrawal from the running:
.@RudyGiuliani, one of the finest people I know and a former GREAT Mayor of N.Y.C., just took himself out of consideration for "State".
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2016
So we have good news and bad news: Giuliani is out, but a bunch of unqualified yet rich CEOs are in. First among them and current favorite is Exxon Mobil Corp Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson, whom Reuters says has emerged “as President-elect Donald Trump’s leading candidate for U.S. secretary of state.” So not only a CEO but a fossil fuel industry CEO.
And not only a fossil fuel CEO but one who has very, very close ties with Vladimir Putin, the guy the CIA says got Donald Trump elected president – for what looks like a little quid pro quo.
Some had hoped for Romney, who, while completely clueless is at least not insane, but Tillerson has apparently leapfrogged over even 2012’s Republican nominee for president. Obviously, there was quite a bit of resistance to Romney from within the Trump circle, who want only unhinged conspiracy theorists surrounding our commander-in-chief.
Like Giuliani, Tillerson represents a vast network of overseas conflicts of interest. Of course, Giuliani, who runs a global consulting firm, passed the Trump test and there is no doubt that a lot or a little conflict of interest is not going to disqualify anyone from a place in a Trump cabinet.
Nor, of course, will Tillerson’s very close ties with Vladimir Putin, ties deeper even than the presidents-elect. In 2013, Tillerson accepted the Order of Friendship from Putin, and in 2014 Forbes was asking, “Will Exxon’s ‘Bromance’ With The Kremlin Help Keep Putin In Check?”
It doesn’t seem to matter that Tillerson opposed sanctions on Russia and that Exxon’s stock will skyrocket if those sanctions are lifted, something he will be in a position to leverage as Secretary of State. After all, what’s one more rich white corrupt elite in a Trump administration already full of them?
As Jennifer Rubin wrote at The Washington Post‘s “Right Turn” the other day, “Tillerson might be the worst secretary of state contender on Trump’s list.”
So why in the world would Trump be considering this guy? Maybe the people-pleaser Trump is trying to butter up whoever recommended Tillerson. That said, his nomination would be a disaster, one that could enrage anti-Russia hawks in both parties and anger both climate-change believers and deniers. In short, the only person who would like this nomination would be — you guessed it — Putin.”
Everywhere we turn, the worst of possible outcomes is emerging, from Steve Bannon to Michael Flynn to Andrew Puzder and now Rex Tillerson. The thing most bizarre about the pick is that the CIA just revealed that Russia helped Trump get elected, and that Trump’s response was to call the CIA “liars” while undermining his denial by at the same time settling on the guy with the closest possible ties to Putin.
This is a terrible choice on so many levels.
Kurt Eichenwald made the point that “If Trump wants 2 end suspicions he’s 2 close 2 Russia, shuld stop considering ppl 4 office who pose in Putin selfies,” but yeah, that’s not going to happen.
Trump has sent a clear message: There is now no denying an alarmingly close relationship with Vladimir Putin, the man who the CIA says stole our election.
Trump’s cry of “liar!” seems to have come with a wink.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.