Despite Doubts, Rubio Will Back Tillerson To Be Secretary Of State

Steve Helber/AP

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Monday morning announced that he would back Rex Tillerson’s nomination to be secretary of state, clearing the way for the former ExxonMobil CEO to make it out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and be confirmed by the Senate.

“[D]espite my reservations, I will support Mr. Tillerson’s nomination in committee and in the full Senate,” Rubio wrote in a Facebook post.

Rubio expressed skepticism about Tillerson’s nomination shortly after it was announced, noting Tillerson’s ties to Russia. And the senator hammered Tillerson with questions about Putin, human rights violations, and Cuba policy. At the end of the hearing, Rubio indicated that he was still skeptical of Tillerson, lamenting that Tillerson had been unwilling to label human rights abuses.

The senator reiterated in his Facebook post on Monday that he still has concerns about Tillerson, noting again that the former ExxonMobil CEO declined to call out certain world leaders’ for human rights violations.

“I remain concerned that in the years to come, our country will not give the defense of democracy and human rights the priority they deserve, and will pursue a foreign policy that too often sets aside our values and our historic alliances in pursuit of flawed geopolitical deals,” Rubio wrote.

Rubio’s decision follows announcements from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Sunday that they would support Tillerson’s nomination despite previously aired concerns about the nominee. With McCain, Graham, and Rubio backing Tillerson, he should easily obtain confirmation in the Senate.

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