US President Trump looks set to get all his nominations for cabinet posts confirmed by the Senate after Senators McCain and Lindsey Graham said they would support Trump’s nomination of Rex Tillerson for the key post of US Secretary of State.
In a statement the two Republican Senators – who have a well-earned reputation as anti-Russian uber-hawks – dropped their objections to Tillerson on the grounds of his previous links whilst CEO of Exxon to Russia
After careful consideration, and much discussion with Mr. Tillerson, we have decided to support his nomination to be secretary of state,” Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a statement. Though we still have concerns about his past dealings with the Russian government and (Russian) President Vladimir Putin, we believe that Mr. Tillerson can be an effective advocate for U.S. interests.
With the Republicans having a majority in the Senate, it is difficult to see how Tillerson can now be blocked. Though there has been some hostility to Jeff Sessions’s nomination as Attorney General, Tillerson’s nomination always looked the most problematic. Now that the hurdle of getting Tillerson confirmed looks to have been crossed, it is difficult to see Senate Republicans voting to block any of Trump’s other cabinet appointments, including that of Sessions.
Trump’s transition team has once again shown more skill in managing the sometimes difficult nomination process than Trump’s opponents appear to have expected. All of Trump’s picks were carefully chosen and were in turn careful to give the Senate committees before which they appeared no grounds to object to them.
The result looks like being a smooth confirmation process, with a full cabinet line-up likely to be completed within days.
As I wrote back in November, claims that Trump was presiding over a chaotic transition were untrue, and so it is turning out.
I would suggest that for Donald Trump getting over the hurdle of the Senate confirmation process successfully, and getting Tillerson confirmed for the post of Secretary of State, is a matter of far greater consequence than the women’s protests on the first full day of his administration, which – as he pointed out – were made up of people who didn’t vote for him in an election which has just happened which he won.