Former Vice President Dick Cheney is emerging as an influential force as President-elect Donald Trump fills his Cabinet — particularly in pushing for the nomination of Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.
Cheney's support of Tillerson may serve as "a good housekeeping seal of approval" with skeptical Republican senators, a Trump transition aide told Politico.
One such senator is Marco Rubio of Florida, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who has voiced concerns about Tillerson's ties to Russia.
Rubio received a call from Cheney earlier this week, a source told Politico.
The objective was "to move Marco the right way," the individual said.
The panel must approve Tillerson's nomination before it moves to the Senate floor for consideration.
Two other Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and Linsey Graham of South Carolina, have also expressed reservations about Tillerson as the nation's top diplomat. Neither sits on the Foreign Relations Committee.
Cheney, 75, who served under President George W. Bush, was among several Republican hard-liners against Russia and President Vladimir Putin who endorsed Tillerson as secretary of state.
Others included former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Bob Gates, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and James A. Baker III.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also backed Tillerson in the diplomatic post.
Cheney called Tillerson "an inspired choice."
Tillerson, 64, has headed Exxon Mobil since 2006. He has ties to Russia dating back nearly two decades.
Cheney, a longtime friend of Tillerson, also has been involved in the oil industry: He was chairman and CEO of Halliburton Co. from 1995 to 2000.
He also has been communicating closely with senior Trump aides, Politico reports, including Vice President-elect Gov. Mike Pence.
"Mike relishes the advice," a senior transition aide told Politico.
The aide said that Cheney was "willing to do what he’s asked" and "wants to be helpful to the incoming administration."
However, Cheney's conversations were not part of a coordinated effort between transition staff and Capitol Hill to lobby for Tillerson’s confirmation, the aide said.
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