Tuesday, December 13, 2016

On the Secretary of State selection process

It looks like Trump really is picking Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.  A few thoughts.

1)  I've been arguing that Trump wanted to torture Romney by dragging this out even though he had no intention of picking The Mittster.  Tillerson was added to the list late in the process.  Possibility a)  Tillerson was the beneficiary of Trump's desire to torture Romney, and if Trump had made a snap decision for a non-Romney, it wouldn't have been him.  Possibility b) Romney really was being considered.  Obviously, I'd bet on a.

2)  Interesting that Giuliani got nothing.  Stories leaking out are that Trump doesn't like it when someone campaigns too hard, too openly for a position.  Fascinating since he loves his sycophants...

3)  The optics are bad here for the Russia hack issues, but let's be realistic.  Trump is not checking his decisions with Putin.  Tillerson is cozy with Putin, and that may have been a bonus point in his favor since Trump has a big, old man crush on Vlady, but the fact that he is a CEO rather than a politician fits in with Trump's pattern so far.  Let's take it on these terms.  Suppose you didn't know about Tillerson's ties to Putin.  Would you have bet on him or Romney to get the Sec. State nod?  That's what I thought...

4)  It will be absolutely hi-larious if Trump faces a revolt in the Senate over this, since McConnell has now joined the chorus demanding an investigation into Russia's attempts to sway the election towards Trump.  Likely?  No.  But, this will be a rougher hearing than Trump would like, and I wouldn't put a confirmation chance at 100%.

5)  What happens if Tillerson actually does divest all assets in order to get through a confirmation hearing, and Trump still refuses to do so?  Legally, nothing, but the politics get ever more tricky.