By Elizabeth White
“You are only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with.”
Apparently Donald Trump did not keep this in mind when choosing his cabinet nominees.
Some of Trump’s cabinet nominees have been a source of controversy over the last few weeks.
Trump’s secretary of state was confirmed to be Rex Tillerson, who was formerly CEO of ExxonMobil. According to ABC, Tillerson will be the first person to hold this position without any government or military experience.
Trump said in a statement that “Rex knows how to manage a global enterprise, which is crucial to running a successful State Department and his relationships with leaders all over the world are second to none.”
Some of these international connections are concerning, especially his business relationship with Vladimir Putin, the current President of Russia.
It is concerning that Trump feels that this man could successfully fulfill the duties of Secretary of State, having absolutely no experience.
According to the U.S Department of State website, the Secretary of State is someone who “carries out the President’s foreign policies through the State Department and the Foreign Service of the United States.”
It is suspected that Tillerson was chosen for his ties with Putin and Russia, as Trump intends to strengthen the United States’ ties with the Kremlin.
The appointment of Tillerson has also caused controversy because of the nature of his company and his views on climate change.
ExxonMobil is America’s largest oil company and therefore has had a role in contributing to global warming.
In addition, Time reported that ExxonMobil is still under investigation for “allegedly misinforming investors about the risks of global warming while simultaneously conducting research on that topic.”
As mentioned by The Washington Post, ExxonMobil rejected proposals that would have pushed the company toward renewable energy.
Tillerson has stated that he believes climate change is a problem, but he “questioned scientists’ ability to project future global warming, calling that capability ‘very limited.’”
Tillerson has also dismissed climate change in the past as an “engineering problem”, according to Time.
It is scientifically accepted that climate change poses a huge threat to the world.
It is also alarming that Trump owned ExxonMobil stock, as “his 2015 financial filing lists $50,000 to $100,000 worth of assets in ExxonMobil,” according to ABC.
Rex Tillerson’s appointment to secretary of state should be concerning to all Americans.
Not only does he have no experience related to fulfilling the duties of secretary of state, but his company ExxonMobil is a contributor to global warming.
Tillerson is skeptical of proven scientific evidence, and is not fond on commenting on the shares Trump has in the company.
In addition, this nomination goes directly against Trump’s campaign promises to “drain the swamp.” Appointing the former CEO of the largest oil company in the country isn’t in the best interests of the middle class. Another surprising appointee is Mike Pompeo, who was confirmed CIA director on Jan. 23.
According to Politico, during Pompeo’s Senate hearing the debate “laid bare some of the key flashpoints in Congress over the role of the intelligence community in domestic surveillance and his expressed views on Islam.”
United States Senator Ron Wyden demonstrated at the hearing that Pompeo often flipped between stances and took multiple positions. This is concerning because no one quite know where he he stands on these key issues.
“[Trump’s] changing positions on all of these matters suggest that the rare moment when the American people actually have an opportunity to know who it is we are entrusting with some of the most important, weighty and secret positions in government, they’re going to be denied that chance.” said Wyden.
The Oregon Senator also pointed out that Pompeo’s views on Russia and their involvement in the election “seem to shift with those of the president.”
This is despite the fact that three intelligence agencies found evidence of “a multifaceted attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election” by Russia, according to The New York Times.
Pompeo’s views towards Muslims have also caused controversy. According to Politico, Pompeo stated that he believes that Muslims are “contentiously complicit in acts of terrorism if they don’t condemn it.”
Pompeo’s confirmation to become CIA Director is alarming because of his denial of Russian involvement and his views on Muslims.
As more and more nominations are confirmed, it will be interesting to see who is confirmed to Trump’s cabinet and what they will bring to the table.