January 23, 2017

Corker Opening Statement at Business Meeting to Consider Nomination of Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State

United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 

Business Meeting: Nomination of Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State

January 23, 2017

U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Chairman

Opening Statement

Confirmation of secretary of state is always one of this committee's most important responsibilities. At the core of the nomination process is the question of whether the nominee is qualified to undertake the duties for which he or she is nominated.

I personally have no doubt that Rex Tillerson is well qualified. He's managed the world's eighth largest company by revenue with over 75,000 employees. Diplomacy has been a critical component of his positions in the past, and he has shown himself to be an exceptionally able and successful negotiator who has maintained deep relationships around the world.

The other absolute standard we apply to each of these nominees who come before us is to ensure they have no conflicts of interest related to their position.

The non-partisan director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) recently stated that Mr. Tillerson is making “a clean break” from Exxon and is free of these conflicts. He has even gone so far to say that Mr. Tillerson’s ethics agreement “serves as a sterling model for what we would like to see from other nominees. He clearly recognizes that public service sometimes comes at a cost.”

I believe inquiries into Mr. Tillerson's nomination have been fair and exhaustive. His hearing lasted over eight hours, and he’s responded to over 1,000 questions for the record. I'm proud of the bipartisan process, which is in keeping of the tradition of this committee that we pursued this, regarding his nomination, and I think that while our opinions and votes today may differ, that the process has been very sound.

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