Washington: In another controversial pick for his administration, US President-elect Donald Trump appointed Exxon Mobil chairman Rex Tillerson as the next Secretary of State. This is a pick that was not even discussed in the US media before the announcement and has shocked the entire Capitol Hill beyond imagination.
The real estate mogul whose shock win against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has propelled him to the White House was all praise for Tillerson. While praising him, Trump said “His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for Secretary of State. He will promote regional stability and focus on the core national security interests of the United States.”
Despite Trump calling Tillerson an excellent choice as the top US bureaucrat, he does not really have any diplomatic experience or involvement in foreign affairs at the government or academic level. The announcement finally brought to an end his public and chaotic deliberations over choosing the nation’s top diplomat, with his choices, according to the New York Times, veering from Rudolph Giuliani, one of his most loyal supporters, to musing about whether Mitt Romney, one of his most vicious critics, might be forgiven.
To be true, Tillerson’s name was not even discussed previously by media or even foreign policy hawks as a perspective pick for Secretary of State. The names that were discussed till now included names like Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee; David Petraeus, the former Army general and CIA. director; and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former Utah governor and presidential candidate in 2012.
Reports suggest that Romney, Petraeus and Corker all received calls late Monday informing them of Trump’s decision, according to people familiar with the final choice. Trump teased his imminent announcement of Tillerson on Monday night on Twitter, saying that “I will be making my announcement on the next Secretary of State tomorrow morning.” The appointment signals the new direction that Trump plans to set for the US, with a focus on trade and commerce and on dealing with the Middle East crisis and terrorism while avoiding direct military involvement.
To many in Pentagon, Tillerson, 64, may not be acceptable at all. His nomination is controversial because of his position as the head of the world’s biggest oil company and his business dealings with Russia.