McCain, Graham Say They Will Vote For Rex Tillerson As Secretary Of State

January 22, 2017 2:43 p.m.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced Sunday that they will vote in favor of Rex Tillerson, President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state.

McCain and Graham released a joint statement on Sunday announcing their support and addressed the subject in separate interviews.

“I will be voting in favor of his nomination,” McCain said on ABC’S “This Week” on Sunday morning.

He said it was not “an easy call” but said that he is giving Trump “the benefit of the doubt.”

Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

“When there’s doubt the president, the incoming president, gets the benefit of the doubt, and that’s the way I’ve treated every president that I’ve had the obligation to vote for or against as a member of the United States Senate,” McCain said.

Graham discussed his support for Tillerson in an interview on CBS’ “Face The Nation.”

“This is why I am voting for him,” Graham said. “In my office visit he said that when America doesn’t lead, other people will, and the vacuum is always filled by bad actors. He said that we have to have a foreign policy that engages the world, we need to lead from the front.”

Both McCain and Graham seemed hesitant in recent weeks to back Tillerson as Trump’s pick to lead the State Department and questioned the outgoing ExxonMobil CEO’s policy toward Russia.

Graham said in December that he would have a “very hard” time voting to confirm Tillerson if he does not support new sanctions on Russia.

And as recently as Tuesday, McCain said he was “barely” leaning toward supporting Tillerson but that his mind was not made up “completely.”

Latest Livewire
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: