Tags: Trump Administration | Donald Trump | Chris Coons | Rex Tillerson | senate | confirmation

Sen. Coons: Tillerson Needs to Give Strong Answers to Win Confirmation

(AP Photo)

By    |   Wednesday, 11 Jan 2017 11:00 AM

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., says Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, must give strong and convincing answers to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to clear the way for his confirmation.

Coons is a member of the committee which will begin hearings on Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil chief executive.

"I was initially alarmed when Rex Tillerson was announced as the nominee for secretary of state given his long, close working relationship with Russia and in particular with Vladimir Putin," Coons told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

"In my hour and a half private meeting with him last week, he gave very strong answers to my very pointed questions about whether he can really transition from running a global oil company and delivering shareholder value from countries that have oil in them, to being secretary of state and fighting for America's values for a free press, and human rights, and democracy, and whether he would stand up to Putin and sees him clearly as a thug and autocrat and opponent of western democracies.

"I'll be asking him similar questions today as will other members of the panel. If he doesn't give strong and firm answers, I think he will struggle to get confirmed.

"He gave very strong answers about the importance of NATO, about holding Russia accountable for the massacres in Aleppo, the invasion and occupation of Crimea in the Ukraine, and I'm hopeful he is as forthcoming in the hearing today."

But Coons claimed there are notable differences between what Tillerson is saying and some of the issues Trump raised during the presidential campaign.

"That is one of our very real challenges," he said. "As we move towards possible confirmation votes we have to dig into the background of these nominees.

"Mr. Tillerson I think is a widely experienced, well-traveled seasoned, senior business executive, but we have different priorities and values when it comes to issues like climate change, and the role of human rights, and a free press in our foreign policy. So, a number of us are going to have to make tough decisions . . ."

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Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., says Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, must give strong and convincing answers to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to clear the way for his confirmation.
Chris Coons, Rex Tillerson, senate, confirmation
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Wednesday, 11 Jan 2017 11:00 AM
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