Profiles in Tremendousness - Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson

December 13, 2016 - Ta-Nehisi Coates 12/13/2016 Views: 64,080

President-elect Trump nominates ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, prompting Trevor to break down the oil tycoon's foreign policy experience. (5:06)

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Uh, one of the biggestpro... positions President-electTrump needed to fill

was the positionof secretary of state,

which is the seniorcabinet position

with the most important job,

and that is tellingthe rest of the world

why America had to bomb them.It is also the subject

of tonight'sProfiles in Tremendousness.

-♪ -I havethe most dedicated people.

I know the best people.

We're gonna use out best people.

I have the smartestpeople in the world.

I know guys that are so good.

(cheering, applause)

So good.

Yes, after weeks of searching,

Trump has finallypicked a secretary of state.

And, uh, no,it was not Mitt Romney.

But, hey, at least Trumptook him out for dinner

before he (bleep) him. Uh,really classy guy, classy guy.

And also-and also a genius movefrom Donald Trump,

because you realizehe just ensured that Romney

can never talk (bleep)about him again. Yeah.

Although I will say makingRomney get that tattoo

was a step too far. I don'tthink that was necessary.

Uh, so, if Mitt Romney didn'tget the job, then who did?

After weeks of interviewsand mulling the decision,

President-elect Trumphas announced his choice

for secretary of state.

It is ExxonMobil CEORex Tillerson.

Oh, my God!You're going with Rex Tillerson?

Rex Tillerson?!

I've actuallynever heard of him before.

I don't know who that is,but I know I should be angry.

I-I do know that his name isan anagram for "roller sex tin,"

yes, and, uh, he's the manwho's gonna replace

current secretary of state,Horny Jerk.

That's a real anagramof his name.

Uh, Rex isn't just an anagramthough.

He's also the CEO ofAmerica's largest oil company,

ExxonMobil,which is really impressive.

But, still, the question is,what the hell does an oil man

know about the intricaciesof international relations?

Well, it turns out, a lot.

Tillerson, in many ways,has made a career out of working

in parallel to the statedepartment in many countries.

REPORTER: Exxon has a massive reach,

operating in more than 50-- five-oh-- countries worldwide.

Exxon has its own intelligencedepartment, which is very good.

They do forecasting of the verysame kind that the CIA does.

So, you know, he has,in a sense, had a dry run

for this job in a way thatvery few CEOs, uh, have had.

Wow. That is insane.

This guy has his own CIA?

I'm impressed by that.

I mean, Trumpwas also probably impressed

but just because of his name.You know?

It was like, "Wow, your name'sRex, like a dinosaur.

Pretty cool!"

Now, another important partof being secretary of state

is cultivatinggood relationships

with key foreign leaders.

The question is,is Tillerson up for the job?

And the answeris hell to the da.

He's got very close connectionswith-with the Kremlin

at its highest level.

He's met Vladimir Putinon numerous occasions.

REPORTER: In 2013, Putin awarded him

the Order of Friendship medal,

one of the highest Russian honors a foreigner can receive.

REPORTER 2: Putin, the Russian president,

personally pinned that medal on his chest.

Yo, on the real though,you know your country's hardcore

when friendship gets a medal.

Yeah. 'Cause in America,people are just like,

"Friends, friends, friends,friends, friends, friends,

friends." Russia's like,"We know each other.

Don't get comfortable."

But that's how closethese two are.

In fact, look, Tillerson evengot Vladimir Putin to smile.

Yeah, look at that.Nobody's ever done that before,

which you can tell, becauseif you zoom into that picture,

it's clear that Putinis figuring out how to smile

by looking at Tillerson.

You can see. He's like,

"Is... It's like wolf?How do you do this?

"Like... It's like-like dog?

"Like dog but no bite?

"What-what is this smi...

"What is happy? What is that?

What is this?"

Now, now, now, Putinand Tillerson's friendship

is built on a lot of things,you know,

their shared values,uh, their work ethic,

uh, oh,and the $500 billion oil deal

that, uh, they signed in 2011.

But mostly basedon their values.

Uh, and you don't haveto stress about this deal,

because it never wentinto effect.

Because, you see, in responseto Russia's invasion of Ukraine,

Obama imposed sanctionson Russia,

which blockedthe Exxon oil deal.

And those sanctions are firm,you know?

To lift them,you'd need somebody

like the secretary of stateto convince the pres...


Oh, look at that.

You know, I don't knowif Russia hacked the election

and tilted it toward Trump,

but if they did,

that investmenthas already paid off.

And-and I'm-I'm not gonna front.

I'm kind of enjoying thisabout Trump's administration.

He doesn't do subtext.

Instead of acting like oilis just an added bonus

of America being overseas,

why not just letthe number one oil executive

run your foreign policy?

Cut out the middleman. Yeah.

That's a nice changefor America.

Even the rain forest is like,"Hey, at least he's honest."