Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., has some serious concerns of President-elect Donald Trump's tweeting foreign policy, but he respects secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson as "levelheaded" after meeting with him this week.
"He's fairly measured, and he's fairly levelheaded and answers questions directly," Coons told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program on Thursday.
"I did say to him that I'm gravely concerned that we have a president-elect that's conducting both domestic policy and foreign policy by tweet ... I raised with Mr. Tillerson my grave concerns that if President Trump doesn't rely on his secretary of state, secretary of defense, and conducts his own foreign policy in 3 a.m. Twitter wars, that we may end up in a real war."
Coons is a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, which will hold confirmation hearings with Trump's Cabinet selections such as Tillerson.
"A core concern for me was his view of sanctions, because he's been critical of sanctions very sharply," Coon said. "And we talked at some length as to whether he was willing to embrace the use of sanctions if they are strong, if they're multi-lateral, if they're enforced effectively, for the advancement of human rights and American interests.
"He was generally positive in his response on that. He was generally positive in his response on the importance of NATO, but there is a real tension between his expressed views, and our conversation [Wednesday], and the views of President-elect Trump. So, I look forward to exploring that tension further in the upcoming confirmation hearings."
Coons said questioning of the prospective secretary of state will come in the confirmation hearings with the foreign relations committee as soon as next week.
"My first question for him — and we spent a fair amount of time on it — was how he views Putin, how he views Vladimir Putin's Russia, and what his view is of NATO, of Russia's aggression in Ukraine, of Russia's responsibility for the massacres in Aleppo, and it's a conversation I intend to continue in the public confirmation hearings we will likely have next week."
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