The Tiller­son nom­i­na­tion

Trump’s sur­prise prom­ises a dif­fer­ent kind of sec­re­tary of State

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

Short of se­ri­ous reser­va­tions about the cred­i­bil­ity, char­ac­ter and com­pe­tence of his nom­i­nees, ev­ery pres­i­dent is en­ti­tled to choose his Cabi­net. The pres­i­dent, af­ter all, is the man who will be held re­spon­si­ble for ev­ery­thing.

The yap­ping at the an­kles of Rex Tiller­son, the pres­i­dent-elect’s choice for sec­re­tary of State, has be­gun, but in the first hours af­ter Don­ald Trump dis­closed his choice there was no ev­i­dence and no cred­i­ble ac­cu­sa­tion that he was other than a well-qual­i­fied can­di­date with many friends in for­eign lands, in­clud­ing Vladimir Putin in Rus­sia.

By al­most any­one’s stan­dards, he is one of the most qual­i­fied can­di­dates any pres­i­dent has cho­sen lately. He has worked for three decades for ExxonMo­bil, one of the top ten most valu­able cor­po­ra­tions in the world, and for the most re­cent decade he has been ExxonMo­bil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

ExxonMo­bil’s suc­cess — it has rev­enues of $230 bil­lion an­nu­ally — has de­pended on its ac­cess to oil and gas, and Mr. Tiller­son has cul­ti­vated the lead­ers of the coun­tries where oil and gas come from. To have done oth­er­wise would have been a breach of his du­ties to ExxonMo­bil. One of those lead­ers is Vladimir Putin and one of those coun­tries is Rus­sia, which has vast re­serves of oil and gas. The friend­ship be­tween Messrs. Tiller­son and Putin is no se­cret.

But it’s this friend­ship that will be held as the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of Mr. Tiller­son by many on the left, who would never con­cede that any­one Don­ald Trump chooses could sat­isfy them. Mr. Tiller­son is a fear­some de­mon of left­ist dreams be­cause he’s a Texan and an oil man.

Some of Mr. Tiller­son’s de­trac­tors say they do not dis­pute his qual­i­fi­ca­tions but know noth­ing about his guid­ing phi­los­o­phy. We will learn more about that in com­ing days, when the U.S. Se­nate, as re­quired by the Con­sti­tu­tion, asks many ques­tions (some rel­e­vant and some no doubt not so rel­e­vant) about that phi­los­o­phy. His busi­ness friend­ships will be among them.

Mr. Tiller­son is not widely known to most Amer­i­cans and he was one of the sur­prises that the Don­ald likes to spring, but he is no mys­tery man. He has been en­dorsed al­ready by Con­doleezza Rice, James Baker, Robert Gates and Dick Cheney, Repub­li­can elit­ists all but all have given good and faith­ful ser­vice to the coun­try, and should know what they’re talk­ing about.

Ms. Rice, a for­mer sec­re­tary of State her­self and whose knowl­edge of Rus­sia is well known, en­dorsed him im­me­di­ately. “I know Rex as a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man and a pa­triot. He will rep­re­sent the in­ter­ests and the val­ues of the United States with re­solve and com­mit­ment.”

She ap­plauded his “re­mark­able and broad in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence, a deep un­der­stand­ing of the global economy, and a be­lief in Amer­ica’s spe­cial role in the world.”

Mr. Tiller­son, like others in Mr. Trump’s prospec­tive Cabi­net, is a dif­fer­ent kind of nom­i­nee from a dif­fer­ent kind of pres­i­dent. The Don­ald promised some­thing dif­fer­ent in Wash­ing­ton, and busi­ness­men in the top ranks of the gov­ern­ment is some­thing dif­fer­ent in Wash­ing­ton, men and women who prize ex­pe­ri­ence over the­ory. “Busi­ness” will no longer be a dirty word in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal, and there will be con­sid­er­able gag­ging and retch­ing among the lib­er­als and “pro­gres­sives” in town who are ner­vous of what hope and change, promised by Barack Obama and about to be de­liv­ered by Don­ald Trump, might ac­tu­ally mean.

Rex Tiller­son does not sound like an­other timid voice in Foggy Bot­tom. Like the Don­ald, he speaks plain and vir­ile English. The Rus­sians, he told an au­di­ence at the busi­ness school at Texas Tech last year, “know if I say ‘no’ it means ‘no.’ And talk­ing about it [fur­ther] isn’t go­ing to change that. ‘No’ is still go­ing to be ‘no.’ When you say ‘yes’ you know we’ll fol­low through. It means some­thing.”

This ad­min­is­tra­tion prom­ises to be in­ter­est­ing. For sure, there’s a new wind blow­ing through town.

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