- The Washington Times - Friday, December 16, 2016

Former Sen. Rick Santorum says he has “concerns” about ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, over the issue of climate change.

Mr. Santorum said Mr. Tillerson was an “unorthodox” pick and that he’d withhold judgment until he found out more about him.

“But there are some concerns I have about some of the positions he’s taken on issues like climate change, and Russia and others,” Mr. Santorum, a former 2016 GOP presidential candidate, told WABC radio’s Rita Cosby this week.

“Well, Exxon has been … let’s just say, involved in the climate change discussion, accepting the alarmist view of climate change, and suggesting things like carbon taxes and the like,” he said.

Mr. Santorum did say Mr. Trump has picked probably as conservative a Cabinet as any Republican since former President Ronald Reagan.

“Had he put someone like he did at EPA with Scott Pruitt, then, you know, that to me is a great pick, because it’s consistent with what he was talking about in the campaign. Tillerson raises questions,” he said.

Mr. Santorum said he’s less concerned about Mr. Tillerson’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin than he is about the climate change issue.

“Having someone who has a relationship with Putin isn’t necessarily bad. You can have relations with the people and still be able to hold them [to] account,” he said.

Mr. Santorum met with Mr. Trump earlier this week, but the former senator said he had already let the president-elect know he wouldn’t be in a position to be directly involved with the administration.

The Family Research Council, one of the most prominent social conservative advocacy groups in the country, has also raised concerns about Mr. Tillerson, suggesting he’d be an ally for liberals on the issues of abortion and LGBT rights.

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