Menendez on Tillerson Nomination for Secretary of State

Menendez on Tillerson Nomination for Secretary of State

NEWARK, NJ – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in reaction to President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of State.

“Since I and many others expressed grave concerns over Rex Tillerson's qualifications for the position of Secretary of State, and his clear conflict of interests with Vladimir Putin and Russian oil companies, I have seen nothing to ease our concerns.

“The fact is, the art of diplomacy entails much more than the ability to strike a good deal. Striking a business deal where profits are the only end goal is fundamentally different than being tasked with forging lasting peace accords across the world, protecting America’s national security and interests, and defining our response and role to an international crisis. The United States is at a critical juncture with nations around the world, and our interests need to be represented and articulated by a qualified leader with proven knowledge and regard for the norms and necessities that so much of our modern diplomatic and security efforts depend upon.

“As we just witnessed with the intelligence community’s confirmation of Russia’s malicious intervention in our electoral process, the stakes could not be higher and I am deeply troubled with the idea of a Secretary of State Tillerson guaranteeing Dictator Vladimir Putin has a willing accomplice in the Presidential Cabinet guiding our nation's foreign policy.

“I look forward to a thorough confirmation process where Mr. Tillerson can explain his qualifications to effectively lead our nation on the global stage and clarify his entanglements with Russian oligarchs to the American public. With this latest concerning nomination, I hope President-elect Trump recognizes the critical role Congress will play in confirming his cabinet and acting as a check on the executive branch.”

In light of the growing aggressions by Russia, and with the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump refusing to commit keeping sanctions against Russia in place, Senator Menendez was joined by a group of Democratic senators last week in introducing the Stability and Democracy for Ukraine Act (STAND) for Ukraine Act, legislation that reinforces the United States’ commitment to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine by ensuring no federal agency is able to take any action or extend any assistance that recognizes Russian sovereignty over Crimea and authorizes sanctions against individuals who are violating human rights, contributing to instability, and threatening the territorial integrity of Ukraine. 

“The United States Congress must stand united in our support of our democratic allies around the world, and I look forward to working together to ensure we maintain those alliances and promote our interests through the adoption of commonsense legislation like the STAND for Ukraine Act,” concluded Senator Menendez.