Reuters is reporting that Exxon Mobil Corporation CEO Rex Tillerson may be the leading candidate to be President-elect Trump’s Secretary of State.
Exxon Mobil Corp. chief executive officer Rex Tillerson emerged on Friday as President-elect Donald Trump’s leading candidate for U.S. secretary of state, a senior transition official said.
Trump met Tillerson on Tuesday and may talk to him again over the weekend, the official said. Trump appears to be in the final days of deliberations over his top diplomat.
Earlier today it was reported that former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani would not be joining Trump’s administration.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Tillerson has pre-existing relationships with many foreign leaders, including Vladimir Putin.
If Mr. Trump selects Mr. Tillerson, it would add a seasoned business executive to a team that already includes three retired generals. As Exxon’s CEO since 2006, Mr. Tillerson, 64 years old, could leverage existing relationships with numerous world leaders.
Among those considered for the post, Mr. Tillerson has perhaps the closest ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, having negotiated a 2011 energy partnership deal with Russia that Mr. Putin said could eventually be worth as much as $500 billion. In 2012, the Kremlin bestowed the country’s Order of Friendship decoration on Mr. Tillerson.
This pre-existing relationship with Mr. Putin complements Mr. Trump’s push to improve U.S.-Russia ties. A number of Republicans have urged him to be wary of working closely with Russia, warning that it is trying to expand its influence in a way that runs counter to U.S. interests in places such as Ukraine and Syria.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Tillerson is a big Republican donor but did not contribute to Trump’s campaign. Tillerson backed Jeb Bush in the Republican primary.
A major Republican donor, Tillerson notably did not contribute to Trump’s presidential campaign. Together with his wife, Tillerson gave $80,000 to Romney in 2012 and thousands more to the Republican Party.
After supporting Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign last fall, Tillerson directed most of his donations for this election cycle to House and Senate Republicans and the party organization, campaign finance records show.