REPORTS: Trump Expected To Pick As Secretary of State Exxon’s Rex Tillerson

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name as his secretary of state Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson, who has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, NBC News and the New York Times reported. Both reports said they were based on two anonymous sources close to the transition process.

Trump’s reported pick of the 64-year-old oil executive comes after a very public selection process that included multiple meetings between the President-elect and Mitt Romney, who was critical of Trump during the campaign. Trump and Tillerson met at Trump Tower in New York Saturday.

Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller declined to comment to the New York Times. After the NBC News report, which was posted before the Times story, Miller said there would be no announcements about Secretary of State until next week.

Tillerson was worked for Exxon for more than four decades, according to the Times, and has no government or diplomatic experience. In a video preview of a pre-taped Fox News interview set to air Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Trump why it makes sense to pick a business executive like Tillerson as America’s top diplomatic.

“Well in his case, he’s much more than a business executive. I mean he’s a world class player,” Trump said, going on to praise the size of Exxon Mobile.

“To me, a great advantage is he knows many of the players and he knows them well. He does massive deals in Russia. He does massive deals for the company,” Trump said.

Tillerson’s connections to Russia stretch back to the Boris Yeltsin administration, during which he represented the company’s interests there, according to NBC News. He received in 2013 the country’s Order of Friendship honor from Putin, who he has known for more than two decades, the New York Times reported.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: