February 01, 2017

Warren: Americans Cannot Trust Rex Tillerson to be a Strong Advocate for US Interests

Prior to confirmation vote, Warren details Tillerson's extensive ties to Russia and his troubling record at ExxonMobil

Video of speech available here
Text of speech available here (PDF)

Washington, DC - In remarks delivered on the Senate floor Tuesday evening, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren detailed her opposition to Rex Tillerson's nomination to serve as Secretary of State. She stated that Tillerson's "extensive and longstanding ties with Russia mean that the United States of America simply cannot trust him to be a strong advocate for the interests of our country." The Senate is expected to vote on Tillerson's nomination on Wednesday.

In her speech, Warren explained that Tillerson's experience as CEO of ExxonMobil focused on "how to advance the interests of his own fabulously wealthy oil company and himself, no matter the consequences for American foreign policy toward Russia." She noted that when American and European sanctions on Russia made business more difficult for ExxonMobil, Tillerson's company ignored these sanctions and lobbied to undermine them.

In addition to Tillerson's business ties, the Trump Administration's troubling relationship with Russia includes President Trump's potential "extensive financial relationships with Russia," and the fact that the President's National Security Adviser is currently under FBI investigation for his own interactions with the Russian government.

"I wish this weren't happening. I wish things were normal. But this is not normal. And we cannot simply ignore all of it as we evaluate the President's nominees to critical foreign policy and national security jobs," Warren said.

Warren cited Tillerson's refusal to commit to recuse himself on government matters involving ExxonMobil and highlighted the "massive, $180 million golden parachute" Tillerson would receive from Exxon for serving as Secretary of State. She said, "This kind of payment raises the question of whether you work for the government, for the multi-national oil company, or for both. America deserves a Secretary of State who works for the American people. Period."

Additionally, the senator pointed to ExxonMobil's "years lying about climate change" and noted that Tillerson "bobbed and weaved on climate change at his confirmation hearing." She stated, "Climate change is a defining issue of our time, and the last thing we should do is hand our foreign policy over to someone who cares more about lining his own pockets than the survival of our planet."

Video of Senator Warren's remarks is available here, and a PDF copy of the text is available here.