Oil executive Rex Tillerson has been picked by Donald Trump to be the next US secretary of state. Trump’s decision will, however, have to be approved by the Republican-controlled US Senate before Tillerson could be formally sworn in.
Reservations have been expressed during the selection process about Tillerson’s lack of foreign policy experience, after it became evident that the ExxonMobil CEO was one of the favorites for the position.
US media reports indicated that Tillerson’s friendly views of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, may be met with some unease in the Senate where a call will be taken on his future. Tillerson’s former employer has reportedly done business with Russian oil giant Rosneft and he himself is said to be on great terms with Putin, who awarded him an Order of Friendship in 2013.
What may have endeared the multi-millionaire businessman to Trump at a personal level is their similar background. Both are newcomers to politics and come from a business background, which Trump sees as valuable an experience in politics.
Tillerson’s views on climate change are also believed to be in line with Trump’s, who has promised reopening of coal mines and shown a preference of coal and oil over renewables.
The President-elect said during the campaign that he would ‘scrap’ the Paris climate deal, as he didn’t believe that climate change was for real.