McCain Says He’s Leaning Toward Backing Rex Tillerson

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz delivers his speech titled “America’s Enduring Commitment to Security and Prosperity in Asia” at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) Distinguished Public Lecture on Friday, June 3, 2016 in Singapore. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
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January 17, 2017 7:02 a.m.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), one of a few Republican senators who seemed hesitant to back Donald Trump’s choice to lead the State Department, Rex Tillerson, said on Monday evening that he may vote for the nominee.

“Some of my concerns have been satisfied,” McCain said on Fox News after explaining that he spoke with Tillerson on Monday. “I haven’t made up my mind completely.”

“I just want him to have an understanding of the moral dimensions of Vladimir Putin in particular, and the slaughter that he has inflicted,” McCain added.

McCain and a couple other Republican senators have questioned Tillerson’s policy toward Russia given the outgoing ExxonMobil CEO’s relationship with Russia. Under Tillerson, the company struck a deal with a Russian oil giant Rosneft to access oil in the Arctic, after which Putin awarded Tillerson the state’s Order of Friendship honor.

During Tillerson’s confirmation hearing, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) appeared hesitant to back Tillerson after launching tough questions at the nominee.

Fox host Martha MacCallum asked McCain if he was now “leaning toward” supporting Tillerson’s nomination.

“Barely, yes,” McCain replied. “I think he’s a good man.”

But McCain added, “I still don’t understand taking an award from that thug.”

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