As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee grilled Secretary of State nominee and former Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson yesterday on Capitol Hill, much of the political world’s attention turned northward to New York City, where President-elect Donald Trump’s first press conference since being elected was chock full of highlights to unpack.
But amid the din kicked up by viral moments like Mr. Trump’s refusal to answer a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta and calling Buzzfeed News a “failing pile of garbage,” what was a times a very contentious confirmation hearing took a backseat to the spectacle in New York.
Tillerson faced a battery in questions ranging in topic from Russia to his time as CEO of Exxon-Mobil to defeating ISIS and more. He also distanced himself from the President-elect on some issues, taking a more moderate tone when discussing things climate change and Mr. Trump’s past proposal that Muslims be banned from entering the U.S. Florida Senator Marco Rubio went after Tillerson particularly hard after he backed away from using the term “war criminal” to describe Vladimir Putin. Rubio has since said he’s not coming out in support or opposition of Tillerson yet.
What were the major takeaways from yesterday’s confirmation hearing for Rex Tillerson? Has your opinion of him as possible secretary of state changed after hearing him be questioned?
Burgess Everett, POLITICO congressional reporter; he was in Tillerson’s hearing Wednesday
Liam Denning, energy columnist for Bloomberg Gadfly