WASHINGTON - Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., released the following statement Tuesday after Donald Trump announced that he would nominate Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil, to be secretary of state:
“Donald Trump told us he would drain the swamp -- he just didn't tell us he would drain it directly into his own Cabinet.
“Exxon Mobil is not just any oil company. It is the largest fossil fuel company in the world, one that is under investigation in multiple states for misleading investors and waging a public misinformation campaign to cast doubt on climate change while Exxon's own scientists knew for decades the stark reality of the climate threat.
“As Secretary of State, Tillerson would be able to approve the Keystone pipeline and would be responsible for helping lead the global response to the urgent threat of climate change. An oilman has no business running international climate policy.
“Additionally, Tillerson's close ties to Putin and the fact that he personally received Russia's ‘Order of Friendship’ for the oil deals he cut in the country are deeply worrisome.
“Every American should be able to agree that America should forcefully respond to any foreign power’s efforts to influence our elections. So it is deeply disturbing that Donald Trump would respond to Russia’s covert campaign to help elect Trump by appointing Vladimir Putin’s buddy to direct American foreign policy.
“With Russia invading its neighbors, threatening our allies, fueling the crisis in Syria, and hacking our own institutions, we need a diplomat ready to stand up to Russia.
“Given that we now have a serial labor law violator nominated to run the Department of Labor and someone who has sued the EPA tapped for that agency, maybe the Exxon CEO running international climate negotiations makes some perverse sense in Trumpworld. But it doesn’t in reality.”