US Secretary of State John Kerry has praised Donald Trump’s “thoughtful” picks for his incoming cabinet, speaking highly of some of the Republican president-elect’s more controversial nominations.
In an interview with The Boston Globe on Sunday, the top US diplomat hailed Trump’s secretary of state nominee, Rex Tillerson, and Defense Secretary nominee James Mattis.
According to the Globe, however, Kerry dodged questions on the pending cabinet’s performance, saying he preferred to wait and see how his successor and other members of the Trump administration would perform in office.
“Let’s wait and see. I’m not going to get ahead of the decisions that they make,” he said. “Because governing is very, very different when you’re confronted with the realities. And I think one of the things people make a huge mistake in doing is ginning themselves up over guessing. I’m not going to guess.”
Tillerson, the CEO of US energy giant ExxonMobil, has been chosen to carry out Trump’s pledges to dismantle the Iran nuclear deal as well as an international agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the two highlights of Kerry’s 4-year carrier.
As ExxonMobil’s president and chief executive, Tillerson has managed the company’s business activities in at least 50 countries, including Russia.
Upon the oil chief’s nomination, Republican Senator John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the nature of Tillerson’s ties with Moscow was a “matter of concern.”
Under Tillerson’s management, ExxonMobil negotiated a major energy deal with Moscow in 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal. Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the time that the deal could be worth over $500 billion.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and environmental group Green Peace also reacted negatively to Tillerson’s nomination.
The story has been more or less the same for Trump’s pick to lead the US military.
An outspoken critic of the Iran nuclear agreement, Mattis, aka Mad Dog, has been chosen to expand the US military, another major plan of Trump’s campaign.