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Oxfam reaction to nomination of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

By Oxfam

In reaction to President-elect Trump's nomination of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and John Bolton as Deputy Secretary of State, Oxfam America’s President Raymond C. Offenheiser, made the following statement:

“Billions of people around the world look to the United States as a source of hope. The Secretary of State represents this country, and should represent hope.  As the nation's top diplomat, the Secretary of State must work across divides and lead delicate negotiations to resolve conflicts that jeopardize millions of lives. The US is safer and more prosperous when we play a constructive role in fostering peace in our global neighborhood.

“Oxfam questions how this chief diplomat would balance the pressure to transact short-term deals against his larger responsibility to strengthen the rules and institutions that protect economic hope and fundamental human rights for so many on the planet.

"As CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson has been at the helm of a company doing business in many kleptocracies around the world, while leading the fight to keep tax and other payments to these governments secret, and contributing to environments where corruption thrives.

“Under Tillerson’s leadership, Exxon has continued to work to undermine climate science, but he is now being positioned to take over the most important role in the US government on international climate action.

“We are concerned that Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson lacks the commitment, experience, and skills for the job. Conducting business abroad is no substitute for a track record in strong and principled diplomacy for US interests.

“The Secretary of State is the nation’s chief diplomat, and a critical adviser to the President on matters of national interest, national security, war and peace.  With so many crises around the world, we need a statesman, not an oilman. 

 “We urge Senators to examine Mr. Tillerson’s record closely during his confirmation hearing, and to seek to find out how he will advance the critical mission of the Department of State, especially how he will support international development, poverty reduction, and fight for human rights as a core purpose of US foreign affairs.”

“If confirmed, we hope that Mr. Tillerson will embrace the wider responsibilities of public service to publicly engage and account to the American people, while fighting for the most marginalized in our world.  We hope that he will prioritize the global poor and recognize America’s long-term national interest in investing in well-governed, economically inclusive societies.

“Furthermore, Oxfam is alarmed by President-Elect Trump's nomination of John Bolton as Deputy Secretary of State. Ambassador Bolton's view of international relations as a zero sum game is at odds with the US's role in an increasingly interconnected world. His work to weaken global agreements and organizations that provide for collective peace and security should disqualify him from any position of responsibility in a Trump administration.”

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Press contact

For more information, contact:

Laura Rusu
Policy and Campaigns Media Manager, Oxfam America
Washington, DC
Office: (202) 496-1169
Cell: (202) 459-3739
Email: laura.rusu@oxfam.org

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