WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Wednesday evening following the confirmation hearing of Rex Tillerson to serve as Secretary of State:
“There’s no doubt that Mr. Tillerson has stamina, is well prepared, and has knowledge of the world. But I am troubled by his confusing statements about how Exxon handled U.S. sanctions and by his refusal to directly acknowledge or even accept well-documented and verified truths such as Russia’s war crimes in Syria and Philippine President Duterte’s extrajudicial killings of his own people. Additionally, his equivocal answer about a Muslim ban was very concerning as was his seeming unwillingness to fully recuse himself from any matters related to Exxon’s business during his tenure if confirmed.
“Following today’s committee hearing, I expect Mr. Tillerson to review the bipartisan legislation I introduced with my colleagues yesterday to impose comprehensive sanctions on Russia, since he repeatedly referred to sanctions as ‘powerful’ tools during the hearing. Russia poses a threat to the U.S. and our allies, having attacked us and nations around the world through cyber and other means.
“Ahead of the Committee’s vote on his nomination, which has not yet been set, I will be conducting additional research, asking further questions of Mr. Tillerson for the record – including reiterating my questions about his tax return information, and consulting with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”