Our favorite (political or otherwise) Twitter personality, President-elect Donald Trump, sent out an intriguing non-message regarding his upcoming Secretary of State pick early this morning.
Whether I choose him or not for "State"- Rex Tillerson, the Chairman & CEO of ExxonMobil, is a world class player and dealmaker. Stay tuned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2016
Let’s examine what we know to be true.
- Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani has pulled his name from contention for the position. Turns out he sent the transition team a letter on November 29th, but they refused it, asking him to remain in the hunt, as he was still a front-runner for the job at that point. He’s since learned otherwise, and formally removed himself from consideration.
- Former General David Petraeus, who would be likely to hit heavy roadblocks in a Senate confirmation due to his “Clinton-lite” mishandling of classified information, is likely a non-contender at this point. Trump has declared appointments of multiple generals, already incensing the left wing press, and another appointment of a military figure with a history ripe for Senate controversy would not be a likelihood.
- Mitt Romney has been consistently hammered in the press by Trump loyalists and campaign members such as Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Kellyanne Conway, and Sean Hannity over the last few weeks. Trump certainly appreciated his executive experience as a governor and businessman, but how much of his “courting” of Romney was a placating bone thrown to GOP insiders Reince Priebus and Mike Pence? Would Trump actually hire a man to make deals with foreign leaders who, during the Republican nomination campaign, said the following about the President-elect:
“Here’s what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat.”
Harsh. Let’s just hope that the likelihood of a Romney selection is, as it appears to be, quite slim.
- Trump has said good things about the uber-intelligent but uber-neoconservative former Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton. Bolton has a wealth of policy experience and a depth of knowledge of foreign nations, their leaders, and their tendencies. Though an engineer of the failed Iraq War, Bolton is quick to note that it may not have failed so miserably had the Obama administration not retracted so carelessly. He remains a contender.
- Rex Tillerson is an interesting potential pick. He is a man who has made deals in hundreds of countries around the world over the last few decades. Though he has no public sector experience (and would become the first Secretary of State to lack prior public service), Tillerson is a man who knows how to negotiate and has personal experience with heads of state around the world. Interestingly, Rex has worked for Exxon Mobile since 1975 and has not held a job with any other company since that point. He is a longtime volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America, and was once their National President, the highest non-executive position that can be held within the organization.
Mainstream media outlets are reporting that Trump is leaning toward Tillerson as Secretary of State with Bolton as Deputy. If true, this decision makes sense on multiple levels. Tillerson would perform more of a glad-handing position, continuing the frequent travel around the world that has highlighted his time as Exxon CEO to broker overall deals and interact with leadership from other countries.
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton (Photo: Gage Skidmore / CC BY)
Bolton, who is currently working at the American Enterprise Institute “think tank”, would handle policy and day-to-day administration within the Department of State. Both are quite suited for these individual positions. They would complement each other well and fill in the gaps where the other lacks experience. As deputy, Bolton would also not require the Senate confirmation that would be difficult to attain given his historically staunch Iraq War stance.
For once, it’s worth hoping that a media-construed rumor comes true. A Tillerson/Bolton combination would provide the country with military and diplomatic stability, negotiating prowess, and a bolstered ability to revitalize America’s standing as a strong economic player in the greater worldwide community.