This should be a non-news story, since politicians endorse each other all the time.
Except George W. Bush. Post-presidency, he has maintained a low profile, making few public appearances and pursuing a late-life career as a painter.
All the more surprising, then, when Dubya picked up the phone on Thursday to encourage support for Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, according to The Hill.
Sen. Bob Corker acknowledged the call from the former president, whose family notoriously have not been Trump supporters. His brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was roundly trounced by Trump in the 2016 Republican primary.
“I also appreciated a call I received from President George W. Bush, who spoke highly of Mr. Tillerson and offered support for his nomination,” Corker said.
If Tillerson’s nomination is to be successful, he’ll certainly need the support. The New York Times reported that many environmentalists and politicians opposed his cooperative, pro-development stance with Russia.
Republican Sens. Marco Rubio, John McCain and Lindsey Graham have all expressed caution about Tillerson’s nomination, with Rubio declaring he had “serious concerns” about him.
“Being a ‘friend of Vladimir’ is not an attribute I am hoping for from a secretary of state,” Rubio tweeted on Sunday.
From a substantial field of good candidates, Trump’s pick of Tillerson was no accident. The two share many similarities in their Russian approach of open cooperation and mutual economic benefit, according to CBS News.
Tillerson’s detractors pointed to his $240 million stake in Exxon, which presents a nearly inextricable conflict of interest, and his lack of foreign policy experience.
On the upside, his vast, worldwide network of relationships and ability to bring competing interests to the table could bring a much-needed breath of fresh air to American foreign policy.
Most telling is the lineup of political heavyweights willing to vouch for Tillerson, such as former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and James Baker, as well as former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
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