On Thursday, while speaking during a tour of the Baltic states, Republican Senator John McCain expressed “concerns” over Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of State:
“I and several of my colleagues have concerns about Mr. Tillerson, and some of his past activities, specifically his relationship with Vladimir Putin.”
Tillerson’s Conflicts of Interest
Tillerson, the current CEO of Exxon Mobil, has been a worrying SoS pick for both Democrats and Republicans. Leaders in Washington are concerned about the possible conflicts of interest related to his business ties, as well as his connections with Russia, specifically with President Vladimir Putin. Tillerson even advocated against sanctions on Russia after its nefarious annexation of Crimea.
Democrats And Republicans Want Sanctions
The Obama administration is currently planning a series of retaliatory measures against Russia for its involvement in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Campaign. Donald Trump, on the other hand, believes that the U.S. should move on from the controversy that ultimately helped him get elected. McCain has said that the United States needs to reassure voters here and abroad that our elections would not be influenced by foreign powers:
“I agree with president-elect that we need to get on with our lives – without having elections being affected by any outside influence, especially Vladimir Putin, who is a thug and a murderer.”
The fact that our future Secretary of State could be friends with a foreign leader who veteran Congressman such as McCain believe to be “a thug and a murderer,” is worrying for many reasons. Both McCain and fellow Republican senator Lindsey Graham, who is traveling with McCain, have called for sanctions against Russia to be increased. Unlike Trump, Senator Graham doesn’t believe we should let Russia and Putin off the hook:
“I think the sanctions need to go beyond what it is today; they need to name Putin as an individual and his inner circle because nothing happens in Russia without his knowledge and approval.”
Not only does it appear that senior Republican leaders disagree with Trump on his Secretary of State choice, but they are going against his first attempts at foreign policy as well. Although it shouldn’t be surprising that Trump wants the American public to forget about the foreign power that helped get him elected in the first place.
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