- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday expressed “serious concerns” about the nomination of Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, as the ExxonMobil chief executive officer heads for what is shaping up to be the most grueling confirmation hearing of all of President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks.

Mr. Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that will hold confirmation hearings on Mr. Tillerson, promised a “full and fair but also thorough hearing.”

“While Rex Tillerson is a respected businessman, I have serious concerns about his nomination,” the Florida Republican said in a statement. “The next secretary of state must be someone who views the world with moral clarity, is free of potential conflicts of interest, has a clear sense of America’s interests, and will be a forceful advocate for America’s foreign policy goals to the president, within the administration, and on the world stage.”

“I look forward to learning more about his record and his views.‎ I will do my part to ensure he receives a full and fair but also thorough hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” he said.

Mr. Rubio was was a fierce rival of Mr. Trump in the GOP presidential primary race but later endorsed him as the nominee.

The anticipation of Mr. Tillerson’s nomination drew sharp criticism from both sides of the aisle over his close business relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose presence loomed over the presidential campaigns and now the White House transition.

Mr. Tillerson also faces resistance from the left, with environmental groups up in arms over placing someone they consider a “Big Oil polluter” and “climate change denier” in charge of U.S. foreign policy.

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