Let’s get to know Rex Tillerson, the next Secretary of State. We’ll hear about it right from the top. And we need to listen carefully to understand the issues. (My own transcript from FoxNews Sunday follows.)

Wallace Question.png

Chris Wallace: Why does a business executive make sense as the Chief Diplomat?

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Donald Trump: Well, in his case, he’s much more than a business executive. I mean, he’s a world-class player. He’s in charge of—I guess—the largest company in the world. He’s in charge of an oil company that’s pretty much double the size of his next nearest competitor. It’s been a company that’s been unbelievably managed. And, to me, a great advantage is he knows many of the players…and he knows them well. He does massive deals in Russia, he does massive deals for the company, not for himself. [Italics added to show emphasis of slow pronunciation. Bold added to emphasize key ideas.]

Let’s focus on the logic

A business executive should be the Secretary of State because he’s more than a business executive. He’s a world-class player.

  1. He’s in charge of the largest company.
    • (Sounds like a business executive.)
  2. He’s in charge of an oil company.
    • (Sounds like a business executive)
  3. He’s a great manager.
    • (Sounds like a business executive.)
  4. He knows players.
    • (Sounds like a business executive at best.)
  5. He does massive deals in Russia.
    • (Sounds like a business executive.)
  6. He does massive deals for the company, not for himself.
    • (Sounds like a business executive.)

And so, we see that Trump offers six pieces of support for why Tillerson is more than a business executive and is qualified to be Secretary of State. But each piece of support emphasizes that he’s a business executive. During the campaign it was often said that Trump tells it like it is. It seems like this is one of those instances–the reasoning is clear.

As a side, we see that Trump emphasizes ties to Russia without being prompted by Wallace. This is baffling in the context of recent CIA reports of Russia’s intentions to influence the election. One wonders if it’s part of a direct effort to normalize closeness to Russia, an approach that could be conceived to to preemptively defang future intelligence agency reports.

In sum, Tillerson is a business executive who is being considered to be Secretary of State. Despite being rich, powerful, and successful, he is still exactly that: a business executive. When offered a national forum, Trump justified his choice by emphasizing Tillerson’s business experience. And now we know.

 

 

 

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