Noted war hawk Sen. John McCain expressed concerns about President-elect Donald Trump reportedly tapping Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state.
Attending the annual Army-Navy college football game Saturday, McCain spoke with Fox News and called into question Tillerson’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I don’t know what Mr. Tillerson’s relationship with Vladimir Putin was,” McCain said, “but I’ll tell you it is a matter of concern to me.”
In 2011, Exxon negotiated an energy partnership with Russia that could be worth as much as $500 billion, according to Putin. A year later, Moscow awarded Tillerson the Russian Order of Friendship, one of the highest honors a foreigner can receive in the country, according to The Hill.
The Arizona Republican and sitting chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee intimated that Trump’s nominee may have a difficult time surviving the confirmation process because of his ties to Putin.
“I’d have to examine it,” McCain said. “You want to give the president of the United States the benefit of the doubt because the people have spoken. But Vladimir Putin is a thug, bully and a murderer, and anybody else who describes him as anything else is lying.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, took to Twitter to praise Tillerson, suggesting the Tennessee Republican is likely to recommend Trump’s choice out his committee:
If it is Rex Tillerson, he is a very impressive individual.
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) December 11, 2016
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