President-elect Trump reportedly plans to nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state.
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Saturday cited two sources “close to the transition” that Trump will announce Tillerson’s nomination next week. She said Tillerson would “very likely be paired” with former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton as deputy secretary of state.
Tillerson has been ExxonMobil’s CEO since 2006.
ExxonMobil in 2015 added sexual orientation and gender identity to its nondiscrimination policy. Freedom to Work two years earlier filed a complaint against the company that alleged it showed bias against gay prospective employees.
Tillerson in 2011 signed a $300 billion agreement with Russia that would allow his company to drill in the Arctic Ocean. Sanctions that the Obama administration imposed against the Kremlin in 2014 over its intervention in Ukraine, which includes the annexation of Crimea, detailed the project.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013 honored Tillerson with his country’s Order of Friendship. Putin in the same year signed a controversial law that bans the promotion of so-called gay propaganda to minors.
The NBC News report comes a day after the Trump transition team announced that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was no longer in the running to succeed Secretary of State John Kerry.
The Associated Press on Friday cited a senior U.S. official who said it was likely Russia tried to sway the outcome of last month’s election in Trump’s favor. The president-elect sharply dismissed the report.
Advocates with whom the Washington Blade has spoken since the election have expressed concern over whether U.S. foreign policy will continue to promote LGBT rights abroad. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin echoed these concerns in a statement his organization released on Saturday.
“ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson’s nomination raises critical questions as to how a Trump administration plans to protect LGBTQ employees and contractors affiliated with the State Department, and ultimately whether it will continue American efforts to advance equality through U.S. foreign policy,” said Griffin. “Will Trump and Tillerson take on brutal dictators like Putin who have inspired attacks against LGBTQ people? Will they assist LGBTQ Muslim refugees fleeing death from ISIS? For millions of people around the globe, their position on these and other issues are a matter of life and death. These are among the questions that senators — Democrats and Republicans alike — must ask.”
The Trump transition team has not returned the Blade’s request for comment.