- Politics and Social Issues
Donald Trump (aka P.T. Barnum) introduces Rex Tillerson to the three-ring circus
Rex Tillerson CEO of Exxon Mobil chosen by Trump to be Secretary of State
Who is Rex Tillerson and why is he on Celebrity Apprentice?
Rex Who? That's the question most people were asking when Donald Trump, also referred to as P.T. Barnum, introduced him as the latest candidate in the Secretary of State episode of television's Celebrity Apprentice. That's right. Everyone only thought The Donald had ended his run at hosting the long-running reality TV show.
However, it turns out his hiring of a new Secretary of State is only a new reincarnation of the successful NBC television hit. For a while there, everyone thought Mitt Romney was the frontrunner. The former governor of Massachusetts was minding his own business in Park City, Utah, when suddenly he got The Call from the President-Elect to visit with him in New Jersey about being Secretary of State. Romney, who has enough money to buy the moon, doesn't really need a job. However, when his phone rang in his mansion in upscale Park City, he didn't hesitate. The onetime savior of the Olympics was soon on national television seen walking to the front door of one of Trump's golf clubs on the other side of the continent in New Jersey (pronounced New Joisey in most movies).
The cameras of all the major television networks were there as the Hollywood handsome Romney met with The Donald and his sidekick Mike Pence at the front door and shook hands. With all the smiles and handshaking going on, one would think this was a reunion of best friends. Well, that wasn't exactly accurate. It seems Romney and Trump exchanged some disparaging remarks in the past during the Republican primary. Some of The Donald's closest advisers, including KellyAnne Conway, said, "Wait a minute? What is the enemy doing here?"
However, after a meeting of an hour or so Trump and Romney emerged from the mansion, smiling for the cameras and appearing as though they might be BFFs (Best Friends Forever). So maybe all was forgiven. Maybe.
But what about The Donald's other best friend forever Rudy Giuliani? Rudy had supported the blue collar billionaire all through the campaign. Surely, such undying loyalty would be rewarded with the coveted post, wouldn't he? Maybe.
Days passed as the news media pundits wondered: "Would it be Rudy or would it be Mitt?" But then the master entertainer residing in Trump Tower confused everyone when word filtered out Rex Tillerson was in the running. "Rex Who?" the news geniuses asked one another as they scratched their heads. Even Shep Smith on Fox News looked puzzled and admitted he didn't know who this mystery candidate was.
"Who is Rex Tillerson?" everyone asked throughout the universe of journalism. For those who read Ayn Rand novels in their youth it echoed the query of, "Who is John Gault?" But we won't delve into Rand's unique books or Gault's identity at this point in time.
Is it really that Rex Tillerson?
People in the city of Wichita Falls, Texas were asking, "Is it really the Rex Tillerson who was born in Wichita Falls? That Rex Tillerson?"
Some Wichitans had first heard the question a year or so ago when word seeped out in this north Texas community of 100,000 that Rex Tillerson had become CEO of Exxon Mobil. One Wichitan insisted it was the same Rex Tilkerson who grew up with him in the Faith Village section of the City that Faith built. Could that be true?
Then rumors spread throughout this city on the flat plains of North Texas, that Rex Tilkerson was building a house of epic proportions in this part of the country between Wichita Falls and Electra, Texas. Could that be right?
People on Facebook believed it. Messages flew across the computer screens of Wichitans (people living in Wichita Falls), that native Wichitan Rex Tilkerson would be the next Secretary of State. Wow!
Anyone who has read the "The Art of the Deal" by Donald Trump knows the president-elect believes in hyperbole or an "exaggerated truth" to get his point across in some situations. Newt Gingrich has taken to calling everything having to do with the next president as Trumpian this or Trumpian that as though he is ushering in a whole new philosophy. And he may well be, based on his stunning success in the election. He is the first person bold enough to point at the news media cameras in the back of a crowded coliseum and bellow, "Those dishonest people!" Everytime he does that, the crowd roars its approval and Trump climbs another five points in the polls.
He is the consummate entertainer in the political world. For a while he had his three ring circus of Rudy, Romney and Rex going. But now it appears he's settled on Rex. But why?
Why Rex Tillerson?
Why should Trump anoint Tillerson as the next Secretary of State? There are some good reasons as follows:
1. Rex is not a politician. That is a good thing in today's political climate. The people elected a non-politican as their president. So why not a Secretary of State who has not been tainted by the dark side of politics?
2. Rex graduated from the University of Texas. That is a definite plus in the Lone Star State which supported Trump. It is also a plus to Trump who has stayed away from the Ivy League crowd in making his appointments. UT is ensconced in Austin which is a long ways from the ivy-cloistered buildings of Yale and Harvard.
3. Rex is the CEO of Exxon Mobil. A person can't be stupid and climb to the top of one of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world.
4. Rex is a player. Rex has made deals with a plethora of international giants including Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The Exxon boss knows all the right people around the world with whom the Secretary of State will have to negotiate deals.
5. Rex, like Trump, is a businessman. Trump probably sees some of the traits which made him so successsful, in the Wichita Falls, Texas native. While Trump relishes making deals, so does Rex. They reportedly have communicated extraordinarily well in their meetings.
6. Rex is from Wichita Falls. That's a plus because Texas Governor Greg Abbott is also a native of Wichita Falls. That's a historical basis for believing people from Wichita Falls do well in public office.
7. Condy Rice recommended Rex. That's right. Respected former Secretary of Defense Condoleeza Rice, who served in the last Bush Administration, first brought Rex's name to Trump's attention. Rice should know what she's talking about in this area.
8. Dick Cheney supports Rex. Former Vice-President, who served with former president George W. Bush is a big supporter of the Exxon chief. Cheney still carries a lot of clout.
Why not Rex?
1. The Marco Rubio problem. Florida Senator Marco Rubio said he doesn't like the idea of a "friend" of Vladimir Putin serving as Secretary of State. That comment was probably based on Tillerson's previous dealings with Putin on behalf of Exxon Mobil.
2. The John McCain problem. Senator McCain has also expressed a concern about Rex's prior relationship with the Russian dictator. Tillerson was awarded a "Friend of Russia" award by Vladimir following a deal the two men cut.
No Congress in the history of the Republic has ever denied a President his choice for Secretary of State. The bet here is that Rex will be able to allay the fears of Marco and McCain and overcome all opposition. The Wichita Falls native will be approved as the next Secretary of State, but only after a rigorous cross examination by McCain, Rubio and some of the Democrats.
What happened to Romney?
While Trump and Romney evidently hit it off during their talks, sources indicate it was Trump's base who were opposed to the Utah resident. Romney issued a statement that things were okay between the two men. They dined on froglegs during one dinner they enjoyed at a restaurant in Trump Tower with Pence also in attendance. Romney probably would've been a good president had he been elected four years ago and he was certainly qualified to serve as secretary of state. Someday history will probably tell us for sure why Trump chose Rex over Romney.