The danger of making Exxon chief Trump’s secretary of state

01:08 - Source: CNN
Rex Tillerson in 60 seconds

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Tyson Slocum: Trump pick of ExxonMobil CEO for secretary of state boosts man with an agenda at odds with US interests

He says on foreign policy, environment and more, Tillerson has repeatedly put shareholders' profit ahead of America

Editor’s Note: Tyson Slocum is energy program director at Public Citizen. Follow him on Twitter @TysonSlocum The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

CNN —  

A majority of Americans believe the economy is rigged in favor of big corporations, according to a recent national poll. President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to elevate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to a position as secretary of state, America’s chief diplomat, would formally validate the suspicion that a corporate takeover of our national interest is underway.

Tyson Slocum
Courtesy of Tyson Slocum
Tyson Slocum

Under Tillerson’s direction, Exxon has been an influential kingmaker in geopolitics, often pursuing an agenda, from Russia to Iraq, that, according to reporting by Steve Coll and others, has prioritized shareholders but directly conflicted with the best interests of America.

The volume of Tillerson’s personal and financial conflicts of interest from his 40 years at Exxon should themselves serve as a disqualification: How can the ExxonMobil boss separate his array of deals with dictators, strongmen and guerrilla insurgents from his State Department duties?

Indeed, proponents of the Tillerson pick can only reference a single employer from his resume: his 40+ year ExxonMobil career.