President-elect Donald Trump picked Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state on Tuesday. His close ties with Russia are a concern for  certain Republican senators. Also, his decades working for Exxon has environmentalists prepared for the worst although he does acknowledge climate change.

Talking points sent to the Capitol Tuesday stated that Tillerson’s relationship with Russia would allow America to work in close collaboration with the country on shared interests, reports Politico. Among those common goals would be fighting the Islamic State, for example, although Russia has been bombing U.S. allies in Syria while working with the country’s government against the terror group.

Rex Tillerson
Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Image credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images.

The statements regarding Tillerson discussed in the Capitol said that despite the new secretary of state’s relationship with Putin, he would challenge Russia and other countries “when necessary.” Tillerson once spent almost two-thirds of his time in Russia over a period of two years. The talking points stressed he has been able to say “no” to the Russian president as he has also managed to work with him.  

The secretary of state is the United States chief diplomat and according to Trump’s team, his time with Exxon proves he is capable of managing international relations.

Tillerson is apparently too involved with Russia

Republican Sens. Marco Rubio, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham will analyze if Tillerson’s relations with Moscow would be a problem for America if he is confirmed as secretary of state.

Tillerson will face a confirmation hearing next year in the Senate where both Republicans and Democrats will question his abilities to be the country’s chief diplomat. His ties with Putin over the past decades are a concern for politicians in the U.S. They want to make sure his foreign-policy vision will defend America’s interests.

Republicans and Democrats hope that the confirmation hearings in the Foreign Relations Committee will focus on questions about Tillerson’s different business in Russia and his opposition to U.S. sanctions against the country.

Trump’s team has announced that Tillerson would be perfect for the secretary of state position. He was competing for the job with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, among others. Trump said that Tillerson business background would empower America’s diplomacy.  

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Defense Secretary Bob Gates and former national security adviser Stephen Hadley supported the president-elect’s decision for secretary of state. Rice, Gates, and Hadley are partners in an international consulting firm that has worked for Exxon Mobil Corp.

Tillerson does recognize climate change

Tillerson acknowledged in 2012 that increasing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere would have a warming impact. Although he believes in climate change, he has conflicting views on its effects on the planet and how the problem can be addressed.

He has said that global warming is an engineering problem that has “engineering solutions,” arguing that all we have to do is  to adapt to climate change.

Still, he has made Exxon to embrace carbon tax policies to fight global warming. Under Mr. Tillerson leadership, Exxon is supporting the Paris Agreement established last year to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: The Wall Street Journal