CIEL Response to Vote on Confirmation of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

January 23, 2017

Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to recommend the nomination of former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as US Secretary of State, sending the nomination to a full floor vote. Today’s vote marks the first time since Henry Kissinger that a Secretary of State nominee has failed to pass through committee with strong, bipartisan support.

The vote follows a chaos-filled weekend in which the newly-minted Trump Administration purged climate change from the White House website and agenda, announced its intent to eviscerate the Climate Action Plan, and introduced America to the world of “Alternative Facts.” It also follows a confirmation hearing in which Tillerson repeatedly claimed ignorance, poor memory, or outright unwillingness to answer questions about his views on climate change, his relations with Russia, and his approaches to fundamental aspects of US foreign policy. His responses on questions of human rights stunned observers on both ends of the political spectrum. With today’s vote, the Senate has made itself accessory to Trump’s attacks on the climate, human rights, and democracy. In so doing, it has put the GOP on a collision course with millions of marchers on seven continents who vowed to resist Trump’s agenda and move the United States and the world forward.

CIEL President Carroll Muffett issued the following statement:

Last week’s hearings confirmed that Rex Tillerson is precisely what we already knew him to be: a lifelong oil executive who lacks the qualifications, experience, or basic values needed to be America’s voice on critical issues of human rights, global peace, and environmental protection. The Senate’s action to confirm Tillerson despite clear evidence that he is unfit for the office demonstrates that the incoming government will put – and is already putting – industry interests ahead of the interests of the United States and its people. Exxon got what it paid for. The American people are not so lucky.

To those around the world who look to this country for solidarity and support, we pledge that the people of the United States will not turn our backs, even if our government attempts to do so. To Rex Tillerson and the Trump Administration, we pledge to hold you accountable, to provide leadership wherever you fail to do so, and to work with countries, businesses, and people around the world to move forward on climate, human rights, and a more just and sustainable society.