NEWARK, NJ – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in reaction to reports of President-elect Trump's possible nomination of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to serve as his Secretary of State:

"Today's reports that Rex Tillerson could be nominated to be our nation's top diplomat is alarming and absurd. With Rex Tillerson as our Secretary of State, the Trump administration would be guaranteeing Russia has a willing accomplice in the President's Cabinet guiding our nation's foreign policy.

"The term conflict of interest doesn't even begin to describe the web of dubious business interests and bank accounts that Tillerson and his company Exxon shares with Vladimir Putin and Russian oil companies. Having no practical experience in diplomacy, Mr. Tillerson has no proven knowledge or regard for the norms and necessities that so much of our modern diplomatic and security efforts depend upon.

"The role of Secretary of State should not be bestowed upon someone whose only notable experience with foreign governments involve multimillion dollar deals with Russia and whose experience with the federal government seems to be limited to campaigns against the effects of climate change.

"As a member of the Senate committee tasked with vetting our next Secretary of State, I will do everything at my disposal to ensure our nation's next diplomat-in-chief is someone who has the experience, insights and capabilities to truly protect America’s best interests and preserve our essential alliances across the globe.

"Now, more than ever, the United States needs the presence of a strong and experienced diplomat to be our nation's voice and conscience across the world."