Donald Trump has confirmed that Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his choice for secretary of state.
In a statement, the president-elect praised Rex Tillerson, 64, as among the “most accomplished business leaders and international dealmakers” in the world.
Rex Tillerson is said to have a good relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, alarming both Democrats and some Republicans.
The nomination needs Senate approval.
The secretary of state is in effect the most senior US diplomat, responsible for enacting the government’s foreign policy.
Under a Trump presidency, his in-tray could include everything from handling rows with China to revisiting the nuclear accord with Iran.
According to new reports, Donald Trump has also selected former Texas Governor Rick Perry as his Energy Secretary.
Rick Perry, 66, famously forgot the name of the energy department during a cringe-inducing gaffe at a 2011 Republican primary debate, when he said it was among the agencies he would eliminate if he was elected president.
He has also been a vocal critic of Donald Trump, calling him a “barking carnival act” and a “cancer on conservatism” before he dropped out of his second bid for the White House in 2015.
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Donald Trump said: “Rex Tillerson’s career is the embodiment of the American dream.
“His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for secretary of state.”
Rex Tillerson said he was “honored” by the nomination, adding that he shared Donald Trump’s “vision for restoring the credibility of the United States’ foreign relations and advancing our country’s national security”.
The announcement had been widely expected, with Rex Tillerson favored over high-profile Republicans, including the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.
Although he has no formal foreign policy experience, as Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson oversees a company with 75,000 employees and business activities in more than 50 countries.
He has warned of the “catastrophic” impact of unchecked climate change, although his company has been accused of deliberately misleading the public about the role of fossil fuels in global warming.
However, it is Rex Tillerson’s connections to Russia that have drawn most flak.
He has forged multi-billion-dollar deals with Russia’s state oil company, Rosneft, spoken out against international sanctions imposed on Moscow and in 2013 was awarded an Order of Friendship by the Kremlin.
As rumors of his nomination gathered pace in recent days, one of Donald Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination, Marco Rubio, said being “‘a friend of Vladimir is not an attribute I am hoping for from” the next secretary of state.
Another Republican Senator John McCain expressed concern over Rex Tillerson’s links to Vladimir Putin but promised he would get a “fair hearing” in the Senate.
Reacting to the nomination, Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy adviser, Yury Ushakov, said all Russian officials and not just the president enjoyed “good, businesslike relations” with Rex Tillerson.
Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is being tipped as Donald Trump’s secretary of state.
Rex Tillerson, 64, has met the president-elect amid growing speculation that he is being considered for secretary of state.
NBC News quotes sources close to Donald Trump as saying that Rex Tillerson is likely to be named next week.
Former UN ambassador John Bolton will serve as his deputy, NBC adds.
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The news comes as Donald Trump’s team challenged the accuracy of intelligence reports that Russia intervened to boost his election prospects.
Veteran Republican Mitt Romney is among others who have also been linked to the role of secretary of state.
NYC ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani withdrew himself from consideration for the post last week. Rudy Giuliani’s foreign business dealings had raised questions over his suitability.
Rex Tillerson has extensive experience in international negotiations and a business relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He has been a critic of the international sanctions against Russia for annexing Crimea.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s presidential transition team took issue with CIA assessments that said Russia had attempted to assist Trump during the November election by releasing hacked emails harmful to Hillary Clinton.
In a statement, Donald Trump’s transition team said the officials making the assessment were “the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction”.
Spokesman Sean Spicer said there were “people within these agencies who are upset with the outcome of the election”.
According to new reports, Donald Trump is expected to appoint Gary Cohn, the third Goldman Sachs executive, to his administration.
Despite vilifying Goldman Sachs while campaigning, the president-elect is tipped to pick Goldman president Gary Cohn to lead the White House National Economic Council.
Gary Cohn would join former colleagues Steven Mnuchin – the incoming Treasury Secretary – and Steve Bannon – the new senior White House adviser.
Donald Trump had said if Hillary Clinton won, she would be the bank’s puppet.
Image source Wikimedia
In another development, reports suggested that Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson was being considered for the crucial post of secretary of state. Veteran Republican politician Mitt Romney and others have also been discussed for the role.
Another CEO, Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemical Co, has been picked by Donald Trump to head up an “American manufacturing council” tasked with bringing industry back to the US.
Meanwhile, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani ruled himself out of contention for a post in Donald Trump’s cabinet.
Rudy Giuliani had also been mentioned as a possible nominee for secretary of state but his foreign business dealings raised questions over his suitability.
In a statement, the Trump transition team said Rudy Giuliani had informed Donald Trump of his withdrawal at a November 29 meeting.
Goldman’s dominance of Donald Trump’s economic team is not incompatible, the president-elect’s advisers say, with his campaign promise to put the interests of Americans on main street ahead of Wall Street.
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump had accused the bank of belonging to a “global power structure” that he said was robbing the working class.
Donald Trump had also poured scorn on rival Ted Cruz, saying that Goldman Sachs had “total control over him”.
On December 9, Kellyanne Conway told MSNBC: “You’re not going to find better people than those who have been at the top of finance, the top of our markets, understand the way our markets work.”
Gary Cohn, 56, does not need to face a Senate confirmation hearing for his White House post, which will involve co-ordinating economic policy across the Trump administration.
He struggled with dyslexia as a child and once told his parents that if they were really lucky he might grow up to be a truck driver.
According to Reuters, Gary Cohn retains $190 million worth of stock in Goldman, where he was known for his abrasive manner.
Steve Mnuchin, the incoming treasury secretary, does need to face a hearing before senators, and is likely to be questioned about his Wall Street background.
Goldman Sachs has produced several Treasury secretaries, White House chiefs of staff and top economic advisers.
According to new reports, Donald Trump is expected to pick former Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin to be treasury secretary.
Steve Mnuchin, who was Donald Trump’s campaign finance chairman and has no government experience, could be named on November 30, according to reports.
On November 29, Donald Trump picked Tom Price as health secretary and Elaine Chao as transportation secretary.
The president-elect is still weighing his options in filling the posts of state and defense.
Steve Mnuchin amassed a fortune over 17 years at Goldman Sachs investment bank, before founding a movie production company that was behind such box office hits as the X-Men franchise and American Sniper.
It remains to be seen whether Donald Trump’s first key economic policy move, potentially picking a consummate Wall Street insider to helm the nation’s financial system, will be welcomed by supporters who were energized by the Republican’s vow to “drain the swamp” of special interests.
Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross – known as “the king of bankruptcy” for his restructuring of failing industries – is tipped to be named as Donald Trump’s commerce secretary.
Also on November 29, Donald Trump met Mitt Romney for a second time despite one of his top aides launching a public campaign against offering the former Massachusetts governor the post of secretary of state.
Donald Trump had dinner with Mitt Romney and the president-elect’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus.
Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway spoke out against Mitt Romney on November 27, saying Donald Trump’s supporters felt “betrayed” he would consider the 2012 Republican nominee for the prominent role.
Mitt Romney was one of Donald Trump’s harshest critics during the campaign.
The president-elect will also sit down with Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee.
The two men are leading contenders for the all-important diplomatic post.
Earlier, Donald Trump met retired General David Petraeus.
In a tweet after their meeting on November 28, Donald Trump said he was “very impressed” with the former CIA director.
President-elect Donald Trump reportedly plans to pick ex-Labor Secretary Elaine Chao as his transportation secretary.
Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, served in President George W. Bush’s cabinet.
Donald Trump is still weighing his options in filling the posts of state, defense and treasury.
Image source Wikimedia
Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan, became the first Asian-American woman to hold a position in a presidential cabinet when she led the Labor Department under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009.
The 63-year-old also served as deputy secretary of transportation and director of the Peace Corps in former President George H.W. Bush’s administration.
If confirmed by the Senate, Elaine Chao would become the second person to hold the positions of labor secretary, transportation secretary and the spouse of a Senate majority leader.
Elizabeth Dole previously held that title.
Elaine Chao will play a crucial role under Donald Trump, who has vowed to make infrastructure spending on the country’s roads, bridges and other public transit an integral part of his agenda.
She came to the US with her family at the age of 8 and settled in New York, where her father became a shipping magnate.
Donald Trump will meet Mitt Romney as he continues to build his transitional team.
Mitt Romney was one of Donald Trump’s severest critics during the election campaign.
Media have speculated the post of secretary of state could be discussed.
During the election campaign, Mitt Romney called Donald Trump a “fraud” and “phony”, while Trump said Romney’s unsuccessful campaign against Barack Obama in 2012 was “the worst ever”.
Donald Trump has settled several posts so far, a number of them controversial.
The nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was rejected from becoming a federal judge in 1986 because of alleged racist remarks.
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the new national security adviser, has drawn concern over his strident views on Islam.
Also on November 18, Donald Trump settled three lawsuits for fraud brought against him over his Trump University.
He tweeted on November 19 that he had settled “for a small fraction of the potential award because as President I have to focus on our country”.
Donald Trump will be at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, all weekend to conduct more meetings with potential appointees.
The president-elect tweeted: “Will be working all weekend in choosing the great men and women who will be helping to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Asked about the Romney meeting, Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the presidential transition, told reporters: “The president-elect wants the best and brightest people to put this country forward: people who supported him, people who didn’t support him.”
Sean Spicer said Donald Trump usually started conversations by soliciting opinions and thoughts, and then deciding if a candidate warranted appointment.
“The conversation with Mitt Romney is just that: an opportunity to hear his ideas and his thoughts,” he said.
Mitt Romney’s thoughts back in March were decidedly hostile.
The Republican said Donald Trump had neither “the temperament nor the judgement to be president”, accusing him of bullying, misogyny and dishonesty.
“Prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished” if Donald Trump became the nominee, he said.
“His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.”
Donald Trump responded by mocking Mitt Romney, calling him a “failed candidate” and a “choke artist”.
However, media suggest the role of secretary of state could be up for grabs, despite former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani being the early frontrunner.
Mitt Romney would certainly be another link to the Republican establishment, following the appointment of party insider Reince Priebus as chief of staff.
The 2012 Republican candidate in the past has taken a far more critical line on Russia than that suggested by Donald Trump.
Ex-ambassador to the UN John Bolton, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley are also in the running.
Another of those meeting Donald Trump on November 19 will be James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general being considered for defense secretary.
Gen. James Mattis oversaw military operations in the Middle East from 2010 to 2013 but disagreed with President Barack Obama’s desire for a greater presence in the Gulf.
He is not the only candidate though – Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas met Donald Trump on November 18, the New York Times reported.
The other key appointments so far are Mike Pompeo as CIA director and Stephen Bannon as chief strategist.
In settling the Trump University class-action lawsuits, Donald Trump “was willing to sacrifice his personal interests, put this behind him, and move forward”, his lawyer said.
Donald Trump had been sued by former students who paid $35,000 for real estate “secrets” from his “hand-picked” instructors.
The lawsuits alleged the school had misled students and failed to deliver on its promises.
In his tweets on November 19, Donald Trump said the only thing bad about his election victory was that he would not be able to win the Trump University case in court.
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