As President-elect Donald Trump outfits his Cabinet with businessmen and billionaires, an obvious gap in political experience has emerged. Take, for instance, his nominee for secretary of state, current CEO of Exxon Mobil Rex Tillerson. Tillerson's foreign policy experience is virtually nonexistent, at least from a political standpoint. For Trump, Tillerson's history of wheeling and dealing abroad is sufficient in order to have him qualify as our country's potential head of foreign affairs.
Trump's transition team explained choosing Tillerson with the following statement:
His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for secretary of state. He will promote regional stability and focus on the core national security interests of the United States
"The thing I like best about Rex Tillerson is that he has vast experience at dealing successfully with all types of foreign governments," Trump tweeted after the nomination was revealed. Tillerson has dealt with foreign governments in regards to his business ventures, and many have advocated for Tillerson's success.
Forbes contributor Ellen R. Wald believes that this will go a long way in making him a fine secretary of state. "Tillerson has had to address the concerns of foreign leaders, incentivize them to work with him," Wald wrote in a recent column. These behaviors are, to Wald, parallel to the responsibilities of a secretary of state, filling the need for "a top diplomat who realistically addresses the motivations of foreign leaders and convinces them to work with—not against—the U.S." Over at Newsweek, Andrew J. Bowen agreed that "[Tillerson's] experience in leading Exxon Mobil for over 10 years has given him a deep understanding of global affairs."
I'm sure he has excellent business credentials, but Donald Trump has chosen to put someone in as the nominee who does not have foreign policy or diplomatic experience, and has these ties to Russia.
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez echoed Klobuchar's sentiments about Tillerson's lack of foreign policy experience in a Facebook post, noting:
The role of Secretary of State should not be bestowed upon someone whose only notable experience with foreign governments involve multimillion dollar deals with Russia and whose experience with the federal government seems to be limited to campaigns against the effects of climate change.
It remains to be seen whether or not Tillerson will be confirmed by the Senate, given all of the already-voiced opponents to his background or lack thereof. Though his business experience is expansive in that he's made profits in dealing with foreign nations, the foreign policy chops required of a secretary of state extend far beyond that.