President-elect Donald Trump has made his decision on who he will put up for Secretary of State, and it not Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, Mitt Romney, or any of the other names conservatives have been tossing around hopefully for the last two weeks. Instead, it is Exxon-Mobil outgoing CEO Rex Tillerson.
Tillerson is head of one of those organizations that Trump voters spent the last year clamoring to destroy and that the Infowars wing of the right consider to be the greatest evil in the history of mankind (aside from the lizard people of course): a multinational corporation. Indeed, Exxon is the granddaddy of mega corporations, a behemoth many have compared to an independent state actor. Exxon the company and Tillerson the CEO work massive deals on an inconceivable scale with countries all over the world regarding arguably the most important commodity known to man: power. And you can quite literally use both versions of the word power, here, as the oil that drives machines of war is the embodiment of the power of war-making itself.
Tillerson is a creature of that world, having been a part of the insular corporate culture of Exxon his entire adult life. Making deals across the globe is how he does business. It is his business.
An intriguing choice, but an odd one for Trump, at least from the perspective of the screaming angry fans we’ve all come to know over the last year who go on soapbox diatribes about the evil forces of corporatism and globalism and global corporations and things on the globe and, well, you get the picture. If ever there was a candidate for big-time, ultra-wealthy, independent mega-corporate, “illuminati” conspiracy award, it’s the guy who heads the unclassifiably huge and complex OIL company.
Oh and speaking of awards, Tillerson has a few. One of them is the Bestest Besties Award for being super best good friends with Vladimir Putin. In fact, Tillerson has quite a long, friendly, cozy relationship with Russia, as the CEO of any megaultranational corporate energy behemoth necessarily would.
That’s what you call baggage.
Tillerson may be conservative. He’s deeply involved with the Boy Scouts. He talks passionately about leadership in both business and the community. He is a nightmare for the environmental left, which is practically heroic these days and worth praising. He has said that “Atlas Shrugged” is his favorite book (although to be fair, you don’t know which side he identifies with in the story). He may have some unique qualifications for the job as well as a Rolodex that would put the Clinton Global Initiative’s email list to shame. And while he has neither government experience nor a political record upon which we can judge his values, he is .. interesting as a cabinet pick.
But as far as being the kind of guy that the #MAGA Trump Train can get behind, he’s about as opposite as you can get. Which is not to say they won’t immediately come up with a way to rationalize the fact that he’s everything they’ve been shouting about for the last few years; they definitely will. But it’s giving them pause.
It won’t be the last time Trump gives them pause. It’s going to be an interesting first year. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, Mitt, who had a lot of hopes pinned on him, said his farewell. Read it while you wait for the next firework.