According to a Donald Trump transition team insider, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson has jumped to the front of the line in the president-elect’s choice as secretary of state, as reported Saturday by NBC News.
Tillerson moved ahead of 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney among the hopefuls, who met with Trump twice — including a dinner meeting also attended by Trump’s chief of staff pick, Reince Priebus.
The energy executive has met with Trump once — on Tuesday — but may be meeting with him again over the weekend.
Critics are already blasting the decision due to Tillerson’s ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Hill reported:
According to the Wall Street Journal, Tillerson negotiated an energy partnership with Putin in 2011 that the Russian president said could be worth $500 billion.
The following year, Tillerson received the Russian Order of Friendship, one of the highest awards the country bestows upon foreign nationals.
This comes at the same time as a CIA report was published alleging that the Russian government gave Trump a boost in his campaign — a charge Trump categorically denies: .
It also comes at a time when former New York City Mayor Rudy Giulian removed his name from consideration for the post.
NBC Nightly News senior producer Ilyas Kirmani reported:
— Ilyas Kirmani (@IlyasKirmani) December 10, 2016
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