ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, may be facing some pushback from Republican senators. But among another group -- former Republican Cabinet officials in foreign policy and national security -- he’s getting high praise.
James Baker, who served as secretary of state under President George H.W. Bush, called Tillerson an “excellent choice” and said he “has an opportunity to be a very effective Secretary of State.”
“As CEO head of one of the world’s largest and best-run companies, [he] has demonstrated the management and negotiating skills, and has the international experience, that are required for the job,” Baker said in a statement. “Further, I am confident he will understand the global challenges facing the United States and has the intellect the address them.
Condoleezza Rice, a former secretary of state during President George W. Bush’s presidency, praised Tillerson for his “remarkable and broad international experience.” (Rice didn’t mention that Exxon is a client of Rice Hadley Gates Consulting, which she heads with former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.)
“I know Rex as a successful business man [sic] and a patriot,” she wrote on Facebook. “He will represent the interests and the values of the United States with resolve and commitment. And he will lead the exceptional men and women of the State Department with respect and dedication.”
And former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has served both Democratic and Republican presidents, said Tuesday that he “strongly endorse[s]” Tillerson.
“He will bring to the position vast knowledge, experience, and success in dealing with dozens of governments and leaders in every corner of the world,” he said on “Fox & Friends.”
Gates did acknowledge his business relationship with Tillerson, but said the pair initially knew each other from their involvement in the Boy Scouts.
“While ExxonMobil is one of many clients of RiceHadleyGates Consulting, I met Rex years earlier through our mutual involvement in and leadership of the Boy Scouts of America,” Gates said. “I know this Eagle Scout will be a global champion for the best values of our country.”