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President-Elect Donald Trump has finally announced his choice for the nation’s top diplomat, Secretary of State, after weeks of speculation and a parade of interviews that left the media, and many of us, continually guessing. Trump certainly left many scratching their heads, and many nodding enthusiastically, when he announced early on Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 that he had tapped Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be his Secretary of State.

In a statement to the press, Trump lauded Tillerson’s appointment saying, His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for Secretary of State.”

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also praised the appointment saying,Rex Tillerson is an excellent choice for Secretary of State. He will bring to the post remarkable and broad international experience; a deep understanding of the global economy; and a belief in America’s special role in the world.”

Rex Tillerson is a Texan to the core and was born in Wichita Falls before attending the University of Texas, Austin.  He earned a degree in civil engineering. Now 64 years old, he has been with Exxon Mobil for over forty years and oversees the company’s operations in nearly fifty countries. He also served as the National President of the Boy Scouts of America from 2010 to 2012 and led the charge to open Boy Scouts to gay troop leaders and be more welcoming to gay men.

One of the most popular criticisms of Tillerson is his close ties to Putin and Russia. Tillerson was awarded Russia’s Order of Friendship back in 2013 and has repeatedly called for stronger business connections with Russia. These critics include politicians on the left and the right, including Florida Senator and former presidential candidate Marco Rubio.


Another criticism from mostly internet liberals is concerns over how an Exxon CEO who makes his living from oil will be “apocalyptic” for climate change. In response, here are Tillerson’s own words at the Oil & Money Conference in London back in October: “At ExxonMobil, we share the view that the risks of climate change are serious and warrant thoughtful action. Addressing these risks requires broad-based, practical solutions around the world. Importantly, as a result of the Paris agreement, both developed and developing countries are now working together to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, while recognizing differing national responsibilities, capacities and circumstances. In our industry, the best hope for the future is to enable and encourage long-term investments in both proven and new technologies, while supporting effective policies.”

Tillerson beat out other State candidates including former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani, Senator Bob Corker, and former UN Ambassador John Bolton. John Kerry is currently Obama’s Secretary of State; a position it took over from 2016 presidential election second place winner Hillary Clinton. Former Secretaries of State also include Thomas Jefferson, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice.  Six Secretaries of State have gone on to become president, but no former Secretary of State has been elected since 1856. Sorry Hillary.

Tillerson is married to his wife, Renda, and they have four children.

For more on Tillerson, check out these articles from Forbes, CNN, Fox News, National Review, and the New York Times.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member