After weeks of agonizing over Rex Tillerson’s ties to Russia, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham said Sunday that they will vote for President Donald Trump’s secretary of state nominee, essentially clinching approval for Tillerson.
Though Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is still holding out on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Graham and McCain’s support will allow Trump to breathe easier, knowing that Tillerson will likely be confirmed later on the Senate floor. Tillerson needs just a bare majority of votes to win approval, and it appears highly unlikely now that Tillerson will lose the three or more Republican votes that could have scuttled his nomination.
McCain said he was “very cautious” about voting for Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil CEO who once received an Order of Friendship award from Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the Arizona senator said that his deference to a new president combined with several private conversations with Tillerson sealed the deal.
“He talked to me a lot about his views with Russia, a lot about the events that have taken place, about … what his duties were as a head of one of the world’s largest corporations,” McCain said on ABC’s “This Week.” “Listen, this wasn’t an easy call, but I also believe that when there’s doubt, the incoming president gets the benefit of doubt, and that’s the way I’ve treated every president.”
The Foreign Relations panel will vote on Tillerson’s nomination Monday, and Rubio still hasn’t decided whether to vote for Tillerson. The Florida senator said Friday that Tillerson has addressed “some” of his concerns that were brought to light at a brutal inquisition during Tillerson’s confirmation hearing, where Rubio criticized Tillerson for not coming down harder on Putin, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and Saudi Arabia.
Oh, and Marco Rubio? He folded this morning. Tillerson will easily be confirmed by the Senate.
BREAKING: Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida says he'll support Rex Tillerson's nomination for secretary of state.— The Associated Press (@AP) January 23, 2017
So many suckers, so little time.
Graham, McCain and Rubio folded within days of Trump assuming power. Don't expect anything other than capitulation from them in the future. Tillerson, Sessions, Perry, all will be slam dunks.
There's a reason for that.