If anyone was holding out hope that Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham were going to be the ones to save us from the former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson being confirmed as Secretary of State, those hopes were dashed this weekend:
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) announced Sunday they will vote to confirm Rex Tillerson to be Trump’s Secretary of StateThe confirmation of the former ExxonMobil CEO is now all but certain. At least three GOP senators were needed to kill the nomination, and it’s not clear who among the Republicans besides Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) remains as a possible “no” vote.In their joint statement, McCain and Graham said they were supporting Tillerson even though “we still have concerns about his past dealings with the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin.”
Bizarrely, the statement actually explains why they should have voted no:
“Now more than ever, with America’s friends growing more discouraged and our enemies growing more emboldened, we need a Secretary of State who recognizes that our nation cannot succeed in the world by itself.”
What exactly could discourage our friends and embolden our enemies more than handing over U.S. foreign policy to a pal of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who may have worked to undermine the U.S. election? Read on...
This Week host George Stephanopoulos asked McCain about his decision and McCain told him it was a "tough call" but in the end, he decided it was best to give Trump "the benefit of the doubt." Trump shouldn't be trusted any further than someone could throw him, but you're never going to see any of these Republicans stand up to someone in their own party.
Transcript via ABC:
STEPHANOPOULOS: When you mentioned the president's national security team, you didn't mention his nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.
Have you decided how you're going to vote on his nomination?
MCCAIN: I will be voting in favor of his nomination. I have had numerous conversations with him. And, again, my concerns have been about our relations with Russia. And his past relations, I believe -- and I’m very cautious about this -- but I believe that Mr. Tillerson understands the importance of a steadfast and strong relationship --
STEPHANOPOULOS: How did he assure you?
MCCAIN: Well, he talked to me a lot about his views about Russia, about the events that have taken place, about the fact of what his duties were as a head of one of the world's largest corporations.
Listen, this wasn't an easy call. But I also believe that, when there's doubt, the president, the incoming president, gets the benefit of the doubt. And that's the way I have treated every president that I have had the obligation to vote for or against as a member of the United States Senate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And on the issue of Russia, are you confident that all these investigation, the investigations by the intelligence agencies now, the investigation by the FBI, the congressional investigations, are going to get to the bottom of what happened in this election?
MCCAIN: It may. But the best way to do it is with a select committee or a select -- or a commission.
What the Russians did was imperil the very fundamental of a democracy and that is to affect the election. I don’t believe there is any evidence that they did. But the attempt was very sophisticated. The attempt was much more far-reaching than we had ever anticipated.
And so there has to be a full and complete investigation. And that should guide our relations to a large degree with Russia.