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5 Reasons Rex Tillerson Is Unfit to Be Secretary of State

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5 Reasons Rex Tillerson Is Unfit to Be Secretary of State

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4. Tillerson has Repeatedly Evaded Questions of Accountability

Tillerson emphasized "accountability" in his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Yet he evaded questions about Exxon's positions and actions under his leadership.

A demonstrator in Albuquerque opposed Rex Tillerson's nomination.Kathy Mulvey

Notably, Tillerson dodged a question from Sen. Tim Kaine about Exxon's role in spreading climate disinformation. When Kaine followed up, asking whether the 40-year Exxon employee who had spent more than 10 years as CEO lacked the knowledge or was refusing to answer, Tillerson replied, "A little of both."

Moreover, under Tillerson's leadership, Exxon attacked public officials, scientists and civil society organizations attempting to hold the company accountable for its actions. The company is suing the attorneys general of Massachusetts and New York and attempting to block their investigations into whether Exxon violated any laws in misleading investors and the public about climate change.

Exxon has also subpoenaed UCS, other nonprofit organizations and scientists in relation to this investigation.

These examples run counter to Tillerson's "Boy Scout" image.

5. Tillerson Lacks Bipartisan Support

Tillerson came out of the Foreign Relations Committee on a narrow, party-line 11-10 vote. In announcing his position before the vote, Ranking Member Ben Cardin said:

"However, after long and careful consideration, I believe Mr. Tillerson's demonstrated business orientation and his responses to questions during the confirmation hearing could compromise his ability as Secretary of State to forcefully promote the values and ideals that have defined our country and our leading role in the world for more than 200 years. I will therefore not be supporting his nomination with my vote in Committee or on the Senate floor….

"While I was pleased that Mr. Tillerson said that he would support the laws I have written to hold accountable human rights abusers globally and in Russia specifically and that America should have a seat at the table when discussing climate change with the international community, merely being willing to uphold the law or being willing to participate in global diplomacy are simply the necessary prerequisites for the job, not sufficient cause for confirmation."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has come out in opposition to Tillerson's nomination and says senators deserve to know where he stands on executive orders targeting refugees and immigration before being asked to vote him up or down.

The U.S. public and our elected representatives should be asking tough questions about the capacity of President Trump and his cabinet to preserve, protect and defend the diversity that makes America great—especially since they are almost all white men, many of them billionaires and generals. These concerns are particularly pertinent in light of the elevation of Presidential adviser Steve Bannon, with his ties to white nationalists, to the National Security Council.

Rex Tillerson is unfit to be Secretary of State. If he is confirmed, the nation—and the world—will be dealing with the consequences of Tillerson's lack of foreign policy experience, failure to address conflicts between his personal interests and the national interest and equivocation on climate change in the months and years ahead.

Kathy Mulvey is the accountability campaign manager and advocate for the Climate & Energy team at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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