On Tuesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “MTP Daily,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who was also in the running for Secretary of State, commented on the nomination of Rex Tillerson to serve as Secretary of State by stating he needed to have hearings before committing to supporting Tillerson’s nomination and that some senators might view Tillerson’s ties to Russia as “a killer.”
When asked if he was ready to commit to supporting Tillerson, Corker responded, “that’s why we have hearings, is to go through the process. And as you know, the first thing that happens typically, is you sit down one on one with the nominee for a pretty good period of time, and go around the world and talk about things that matter, relative to confirmation. I will say, the beginning point is, that this is a very distinguished, impressive individual, who’s run a global enterprise.”
He added that “most” of the members of the Foreign Relations Committee are going to want to know what Tillerson’s world view is.
Corker further stated that one of the committee’s members told him that it’s sometimes easier to make business deals than diplomatic deals.
Corker also said that while he doesn’t hold having relationships with Russia against Tillerson, the question is whether Tillerson sees Russia as a bad actor.
Corker did say that while he wasn’t “speaking to the veracity of the other charges,” he didn’t think Tillerson would have any conflicts between his work at Exxon and working at the State Department.
He continued that there are cases where he’s voted for people he didn’t agree with, but who were qualified, but also times where he thought someone’s beliefs were so out there, he couldn’t support them, and that’s what people will look at with Tillerson.
Corker continued, “that’s the kind of thing, by the way, that people will be looking at here. I mean, again, I got a call from a senator, I bet multiple calls, that there may be some senators that just feel that the close relationship that he has with Russia is a killer. I have to believe though, that when you’ve got Secretary Rice, you’ve got Dick Cheney, you’ve got Bob Gates, all are people who look at Russia very clear-eyed, they represent him. I’ve got a feeling they know something about how he views Russia. I don’t think — I’ve got to believe it’s probably not out of the mainstream, but we’ll see.”
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