Rex Wayne Tillerson (born March 23, 1952) is an American government
official and former energy executive, who served as the 69th United
States Secretary of State from February 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018,
under President Donald Trump. Originally a civil engineer,
Exxon in 1975. He rose to become chairman and chief
executive officer of ExxonMobil, holding that position from 2006 until
2017, when he left to join the Trump Administration.
Tillerson began his career as a civil engineer and holds a bachelor's
degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. By
1989 he had become general manager of the
Exxon USA central production
division. In 1995 he became president of
Exxon Yemen Inc. and Esso
Exploration and Production Khorat Inc. In 2006 Tillerson was elected
chair and chief executive of Exxon, the world's sixth largest company
by revenue. Tillerson retired from
Exxon effective January 1,
2017. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Tillerson is a long-time volunteer with the
Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America and
earned the rank of Eagle Scout. From 2010 to 2012 he was the national
president of the Boy Scouts, its highest non-executive position. He is
a long-time contributor to Republican campaigns, but did not donate to
Donald Trump's presidential campaign. In 2014, Tillerson, who had made
business deals on behalf of
Exxon with President
Vladimir Putin of
Russia, opposed the sanctions against Russia. He has previously
been the director of the joint United States-
Russia oil company Exxon
Tillerson joined the Trump administration on February 1, 2017. Trump
dismissed Tillerson on March 13, 2018, making his tenure one of the
shortest in recent history. Trump stated that he would nominate CIA
Mike Pompeo to replace Tillerson. Tillerson's term
officially ended on March 31, 2018; Deputy Secretary of State John
Sullivan will serve as acting secretary until a replacement is sworn
Tillerson's tenure has been characterized by a lack of
visibility. According to the American Foreign Service
Association, during Tillerson's tenure, new applications to work for
the Foreign Service fell by 50%, and 60% of high-ranking career
diplomats in the State Department resigned. Tillerson is
considered to have been among the worst Secretaries of
1 Early life
2 Business career
2.1.1 Ties with Russia
2.1.3 Wayne Tracker alias
2.2 Other affiliations
3 Secretary of State
3.1 Nomination and confirmation
3.2.2 Assessments of tenure
4 Post-Trump Administration
5 Political views
Russia and Saudi Arabia
5.2 Climate change and carbon tax
5.3 Support for the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
5.4 Free trade
5.5 Government regulation
5.7 Republican campaign fundraising and donations
6 Personal life
7 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
Tillerson was born on March 23, 1952, in Wichita Falls, Texas, the son
of Patty Sue (née Patton) and Bobby Joe Tillerson, and named
Rex Allen and John Wayne, two Hollywood actors famous for
He was raised in Vernon, Texas; Stillwater, Oklahoma; and Huntsville,
Texas. He has two sisters, Rae Ann Hamilton, a physician
who resides in Abilene, Texas, and Jo Lynn Peters, a high school
Tillerson's father was an executive of the Boy Scouts of America
organization, and this led to his family's move to Huntsville,
Texas. Tillerson himself has been active in the Boy Scouts for
most of his life, and in his youth he earned the rank of Eagle
At age 14, he began to work as a bus boy in the student union building
at Oklahoma State University. Two years later in 1968 he became a
janitor working in one of the engineering buildings at the
university. On weekends, he worked picking cotton.
Tillerson graduated from Huntsville High School in 1970. He
was a section leader for the percussion section of his high school
band, in which he played the kettle drums and snare drum, and he
earned spots in the all-district and all-region bands during his
senior year. Tillerson received a college scholarship from the
University of Texas Longhorn Band. He received a Bachelor of
Science degree in
Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at
Austin in 1975. During his time at UT Austin, he was involved with
the Tejas Club, and the marching band.
Dick Cheney and Tillerson, 2007
Exxon Company USA in 1975 as a production
engineer. In 1989, Tillerson became general manager of the central
production division of
Exxon USA. In 1995, he became President of
Exxon Yemen Inc. and
Esso Exploration and Production Khorat Inc.
In 1998, he became a vice president of
Exxon Ventures (CIS) and
Exxon Neftegas Limited with responsibility for Exxon's
Russia and the Caspian Sea. He then entered
Exxon into the
Sakhalin-I consortium with Rosneft.
In 1999, with the merger of
Exxon and Mobil, he was named executive
vice president of
ExxonMobil Development Company. In 2004, he became
president and director of ExxonMobil. Upon this appointment
Tillerson's replacement of
Lee Raymond as
implied. His major competitor was Ed Galante, another Exxon
executive. On January 1, 2006, Tillerson was elected chairman and
chief executive officer (CEO), following the retirement of Lee
Raymond. At the time,
Exxon had 80,000 employees, did business in
nearly 200 countries, and had an annual revenue of nearly $400
Under Tillerson's leadership,
ExxonMobil cooperated closely with Saudi
Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter and a longtime U.S. ally;
Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. From 2003 to 2005, a European
subsidiary of ExxonMobil, Infineum, operated in the Middle East
providing sales to Iran,
Sudan and Syria.
ExxonMobil stated that they
followed all legal framework and that such sales were minuscule
compared to their annual revenue of $371 billion at the time. In
ExxonMobil acquired XTO Energy, a major natural gas producer,
for $31 billion in stock. Michael Corkery of the Wall Street
Journal wrote that "Tillerson's legacy rides on the XTO Deal."
Exxon negotiating a multibillion-dollar deal with
the government of Iraqi Kurdistan, despite opposition from President
Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, both of whom
argued it would increase regional instability.
Tillerson lobbied against Rule 1504 of the Dodd–Frank reform and
protections, which would have required
Exxon to disclose payments to
foreign governments. In 2017, Congress voted to overturn Rule 1504
one hour before Tillerson was confirmed as Secretary of State.
On January 4, 2017,
The Financial Times
The Financial Times reported that Tillerson would
ExxonMobil ties if he became Secretary of State. Walter
Shaub, the director of the
United States Office of Government Ethics,
said he was proud of the ethics agreement developed for Tillerson, who
was now "free of financial conflicts of interest. His ethics agreement
serves as a sterling model for what we'd like to see with other
Ties with Russia
Tillerson with President
Vladimir Putin and Igor Sechin, the head of
state-controlled energy giant Rosneft, in Tuapse, 2012
Tillerson has ties with President
Vladimir Putin of Russia. They
have been associates since Tillerson represented Exxon's interests in
Russia, the world's largest producer of crude oil, during Russian
President Boris Yeltsin's tenure. Tillerson was responsible for
the development of a partnership between
Exxon and state-owned oil
Rosneft and the ultimately unsuccessful attempt to acquire a
stake in Yukos, owned by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, before the firm was
nationalized after Khodorkovsky's arrest. John Hamre, the
CEO of the Center for Strategic and International
Studies, of which Tillerson is a board member, states that Tillerson
"has had more interactive time with
Vladimir Putin than probably any
other American, with the exception of Dr. Henry Kissinger."
Tillerson was a friend of Igor Sechin, the Executive
Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, and leader of the Kremlin's
Siloviki (security/military) faction, who has been described as
"Russia's second-most powerful person" after Putin.
Exxon owns a
dacha next door to Sechin's and Tillerson would often visit him
there. Tillerson led Sechin on a tour of New York City, dining on
caviar with him and Putin at the Per Se restaurant. In 2006, Exxon
avoided making any government concessions in its
Sakhalin-I oil field
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell was forced to sell half of its ownership in
Sakhalin-II by the Russian government.
In August 2011, Putin attended a ceremony in
Sochi where Tillerson and
Sechin signed an agreement between
Rosneft to drill the
East-Prinovozemelsky field in the
Arctic Ocean valued at up to
$300 billion. The
Rosneft deal also gave the state-owned
oil company a 30% stake in
Exxon owned assets in the U.S. Gulf of
Mexico, Canada, and West Texas. The company began drilling in the
Kara Sea in the summer of 2014, and a round of sanctions against
Russia introduced in September that year due to the Ukrainian crisis
was to have brought the project to a halt in mid-September.
Nevertheless, the company was granted a reprieve that stretched the
window to work until October 10, which enabled it to discover a major
field with about 750 million barrels of new oil for Russia. In
July 2017, the U.S. Treasury's
Office of Foreign Assets Control
Office of Foreign Assets Control fined
ExxonMobil $2 million for violating sanctions in its dealings with
Sechin, leading the company to sue the government.
In 2013, Tillerson was awarded the
Order of Friendship
Order of Friendship by Putin for
his contribution to developing cooperation in the energy
In June 2017, Tillerson said Trump had asked him to "stabilize the
relationship (with Russia) and build trust."
In 2012, Tillerson's compensation package was $40.5 million.
It was $28.1 million in 2013, $33.1 million in 2014, and
$27.2 million in 2015. In late 2016, Tillerson held $54
Exxon stock, and had a right to deferred stock worth
approximately $180 million over the next 10 years. Tillerson is
estimated to be worth at least $300 million. When he left Exxon,
Tillerson was four months away from retirement, at which time he would
have been entitled to a $180 million retirement package. He owns
two ranches in Texas, where his wife, Renda, raises cutting
On January 3, 2017,
ExxonMobil announced they had reached an agreement
with Tillerson "to sever all ties with the company to comply with
conflict-of-interest requirements associated with his nomination as
secretary of state."
Wayne Tracker alias
CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson used an alias email address "Wayne
Tracker" for eight years and sent thousands of messages. In
response to a subpoena issued by the New York State Attorney General's
Office (part of a state investigation into whether
Exxon had misled
investors and the public about climate change),
Exxon produced about
60 emails associated with the "Wayne Tracker" account, but did not
inform investigators that they were Tillerson's.
that the account was "used for everyday business" needs such as
"secure and expedited communications" between Tillerson and top
Tillerson's use of the alias became publicly known in March 2017,
New York State Attorney General
New York State Attorney General
Eric Schneiderman wrote in a
letter to a judge that Tillerson had used the "Wayne Tracker" email
for at least seven years. Later that month,
Exxon revealed that
emails from the alias account from September 2014 to September 2015
were missing; a further search recovered some emails, but none between
September 5, 2014, and November 28, 2014. An attorney for
that a "unique issue" limited to that account led to emails being
Tillerson is a trustee of the Center for Strategic and International
Studies and the American Petroleum Institute. He is also a member
of the Business Roundtable. In 2013, he became a member of the
National Academy of Engineering. He was a member of the executive
The Business Council for 2011 and 2012.
Tillerson is a long-time volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America
(BSA), and from 2010 to 2012 was their national president, its highest
non-executive position. Tillerson is a Distinguished Eagle
Scout, and his father was a BSA executive. Tillerson is a long-time
supporter of the BSA and has said, "I think the highlight of my youth
and adolescent years were my achievements in Scouting." In 2009,
Tillerson was inducted into the Eagle Scout Hall of Fame of the
Greater New York Councils. Ray L. Hunt, a close friend and the
Chairman of Hunt Consolidated, told the Dallas Morning News, "To
understand Rex Tillerson, you need to understand Scouting."
After the end of his term as BSA president, he remained on the
organization's National Executive Board. There he played a significant
role in the board's 2013 decision to rescind the long-standing ban on
openly gay youth as members. According to Center for Strategic and
International Studies president John Hamre, Tillerson was instrumental
in the change and "a key leader in helping the group come to a
On July 9, 2017, Tillerson received the Dewhurst Award from the World
Petroleum Council in recognition for "outstanding contribution to the
oil and gas industry" during his 41 years at
Secretary of State
Nomination and confirmation
Tillerson at his confirmation hearing on January 11, 2017
Tillerson being sworn in as Secretary of State on February 1, 2017
Tillerson delivering welcome remarks at the State Department on his
first official day as Secretary of State
Tillerson was first recommended to then-President-elect Trump for the
Secretary of State role by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,
during her meeting with Trump in late November 2016. Rice's
recommendation of Tillerson to Trump was backed up by former Secretary
of Defense Robert Gates, three days later. Media speculation that
he was being considered for the position began on December 5,
2016. On December 9, transition officials reported that Tillerson
was the top candidate for the position, surpassing contenders such as
Mitt Romney and David Petraeus. His nomination was reportedly
Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.
On January 20, 2017, shortly after being sworn in as President of the
United States, Trump formally sent his nomination of Tillerson as
Secretary of State to the
United States Senate.
In response to Tillerson's comments on blocking access to man-made
islands in the South
China Sea, China's state-controlled media warned
of a "large-scale war" between the U.S. and China.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved Tillerson's nomination
11–10, a strict party line vote, on January 23, 2017.
The Senate confirmed Tillerson as Secretary of State on February 1,
2017. The Senate voted 56 to 43, with all 52 Republicans in support of
his nomination as well as three Democrats and one independent. He
was sworn in on the same day by Vice President Mike Pence.
The number of votes against Tillerson's confirmation was unusual for a
Secretary of State. The previous record for votes against a nominee
for Secretary of State had been fourteen.
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
January 23, 2017
February 1, 2017
On February 15, 2017, Tillerson embarked on his first overseas trip as
Secretary of State to Bonn, Germany, meeting with foreign ministers
from the G20. In Bonn, Tillerson had meetings with Foreign
Sergey Lavrov of
Russia and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
of the United Kingdom, as well as his counterparts from Italy,
Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.
Russia to withdraw from eastern Ukraine, stating that
United States will consider working with
Russia when we can find
areas of practical cooperation that will benefit the American people.
Where we do not see eye to eye, the
United States will stand up for
the interests and values of America and her allies. As we search for
new common ground, we expect
Russia to honor its commitment to the
Minsk agreements and work to de-escalate the violence in Ukraine."
Tillerson also reaffirmed U.S. commitment to defending South Korea and
Tillerson with Turkish President Erdoğan at the Presidential Complex
in Ankara, March 30, 2017
Tillerson made his first visit to
Mexico on February 23, 2017,
Secretary of Homeland Security
Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly. When
meeting with Secretary of Foreign Affairs
Luis Videgaray Caso
Luis Videgaray Caso of
Mexico, Tillerson acknowledged differences between the U.S. and Mexico
on views of border security, but also acknowledged the need for
cooperation in addressing migration, as well as arms
trafficking. Tillerson recused himself from TransCanada's
application for a presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL
Before the inauguration, Tillerson selected
Elliott Abrams to be the
United States Deputy Secretary of State. In February 2017, they held
an interview with President Trump in the Oval Office. There,
Tillerson contradicted the President's criticism of the Foreign
Corrupt Practices Act, advising Trump of Exxon’s success in refusing
a bribe demand by Yemen's oil minister. The next day, Fox News
criticized Abrams, and Tillerson soon told Abrams he would not be
Rex Tillerson with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
In mid-March 2017, Tillerson made his first trip to Asia, traveling to
Japan, South Korea, and China. Tillerson remarked that
diplomatic efforts in the past 20 years to stop North Korea's nuclear
development had "failed". Tillerson also stated the
United States may
need to take preemptive action, remarking "Certainly, we do not want
things to get to a military conflict ... but obviously, if North Korea
takes actions that threatens the South Korean forces or our own
forces, then that would be met with an appropriate response. If they
elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe
that requires action, that option is on the table."
On March 30, 2017, Tillerson met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Turkey has criticized the
United States over its support
for Syrian Kurds. In May, protestors and Erdoğan's bodyguards
clashed outside of the Turkish Ambassador's Residence in Washington,
D.C. Tillerson said that the incident was "outrageous" and that the
Trump administration has expressed "dismay" over it. He said the
administration will await the outcome of an investigation before
taking further action.
In mid-April 2017, Tillerson made his first trip to
Secretary of State, meeting with Foreign Minister
Sergey Lavrov and
President Vladimir Putin. At a news conference, Tillerson remarked
that Russian-U.S. relations were at a "low point". Tillerson
Russia of the risk of "becoming irrelevant in the Middle
East" by continuing to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Tillerson with Argentine President
Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires,
In May 2017, Tillerson joined Trump on the President's first overseas
trip, with the first destination being Saudi Arabia. While in
Saudi Arabia, Tillerson held a joint press conference with Saudi
Arabian Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir.
In June 2017, Tillerson excluded Myanmar, Iraq, and
the list of countries that employ child soldiers in that year's
Trafficking in Persons Report, rejecting the unanimous recommendations
of staff. Staff then circulated a memo in their Dissent Channel
alleging that Tillerson's decision was in violation of the Child
Soldiers Prevention Act. In late November 2017, the topic garned
national attention when the State Department defended Tillerson's
actions in the wake of an anonymous complaint by a State Department
official to the State Department Inspector General and the
distribution of supporting documents to the Inspector General and to
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
2018 United States federal budget
2018 United States federal budget sought to reduce
the State Department’s budget by 31%. Tillerson froze most
hiring and sought to remove 2,000 career diplomats by offering them
$25,000 buyouts. In June 2017, Tillerson told graduates of the
Rangel and the Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowships that their offers
to join the
United States Foreign Service
United States Foreign Service were rescinded and that they
needed to repay the $85,000 scholarships or agree to work in temporary
positions. Tillerson reversed that decision and allowed the graduates
to become full Foreign Service Officers after being asked to do so by
31 members of Congress. Applications to take the Foreign Service
entrance exam dropped 50% that year.
Tillerson and his staff fired career ambassadors Patrick F. Kennedy
and Kristie Kenney, and attempted to remove Linda Thomas-Greenfield,
who then retired.
Margaret Peterlin to be his Chief of
Staff. Tillerson is reported to rely heavily on Peterlin, as
well as his chief of policy, Brian Hook. Tillerson has
attempted to centralize much decision making under the Policy Planning
Tillerson has initiated the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development
Review, focusing on the State Department's organizational
structure. Tillerson contracted for management consulting from
Deloitte and hired
Insigniam to conduct a "listening tour" survey for
$1 million. Tillerson has attempted to reduce inefficiencies
within the State Department, though it has been described as a
"botched reorganisation" that has created a hollowed out and
dysfunctional department, reportedly leading to micromanaging and poor
morale among career diplomats. He has been praised
for setting the right tone for diplomats.
Tillerson meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, June 26,
Tillerson greets King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, October 22, 2017
Tillerson was reportedly angered by the political speech President
Trump delivered at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree.
In October 2017, news reports surfaced regarding a deteriorating
relationship between Tillerson and Trump. According to reports,
in a July 20 meeting, Trump suggested a ten-fold increase in the
United States nuclear arsenal, which would cost trillions and take
centuries, after which individuals familiar with the meeting told
journalists that Tillerson either called Trump a "moron" or a
"fucking moron". Additionally, there were well-sourced reports of
Tillerson offering to resign his office as Secretary of State, only to
be discouraged from doing so by Vice President Mike Pence; however,
these were officially denied by both Tillerson and the White
House. Furthermore, on October 1, Trump directly
contradicted, via a public tweet, Tillerson's policy of negotiation
with North Korea; this move was widely panned by experts,
who thought that such a public undermining of the chief diplomat of
United States would weaken Tillerson's ability to negotiate with
other countries. On October 10, after Tillerson's alleged
"moron" comment was reported in the media, Trump challenged Tillerson
to "IQ tests", and three days later Senator
Bob Corker from
Tennessee, the Chair of the influential Senate Foreign Relations
Committee who had become a vocal Trump critic around that time,
remarked that Trump was "publicly castrating" Tillerson.
In November 2017, Tillerson said that recent Rohingya persecution in
Myanmar was ethnic cleansing.
Tillerson has made a concerted effort to respond to the State
Department's backlog of Freedom of Information Act requests that reach
into Secretary Hillary Clinton's tenure, assigning midlevel diplomats
from every bureau to perform document review aside unpaid
By the end of November 2017, 10 of the top 44 political positions in
the State Department had been filled. A large amount of Senior
Foreign Service officers have resigned under Tillerson, with the
number of career ambassadors and ministers dropping nearly 50%, from
39 to 19, and the number of minister-counselors dropping 18% to
On March 13, 2018, Tillerson commented on the nerve gas poisoning in
United Kingdom of a former Russian spy and his daughter, calling
it a "really egregious act" that clearly "came from Russia".
According to the White House, Trump communicated with Tillerson on
March 9 and told him he would be replaced. Tillerson cut short a
visit to Africa and returned to the
United States on March 12. On
March 13, Trump announced via a public tweet that Tillerson was
out. A spokesman for Tillerson, Steve Goldstein (the Under
Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy), was quoted by the Washington
Post that Tillerson did not know why he had been fired by Trump and
only found out about his firing when he read Trump's tweet on the
morning of March 13; Goldstein, who was generally perceived
within the White House as being anti-Trump, was fired by the
White House later that day, reportedly for contradicting the official
account of Tillerson's dismissal. A senior Trump
administration official cited "upcoming
North Korea talks and various
trade negotiations" as the reason for replacing Tillerson. Trump
later told reporters that his differences with Tillerson came down to
personal chemistry and disagreements on policy, adding that he and
Pompeo "have a very similar thought process".
John Sullivan, the Deputy Secretary of State, served as acting
Secretary until March 31, when Tillerson formally left office.
Trump proposed CIA Director
Mike Pompeo (with whom Trump has a much
more positive relationship) as Tillerson's successor and Gina Haspel
as the new CIA Director; if confirmed she would be the first female
Assessments of tenure
In March 2017,
Robert Jervis of
Columbia University wrote that
Tillerson "had little impact on the Trump administration so far" and
that his influence would continue to wane. That same month,
William Inboden of the
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin defended
Tillerson, saying that he deserves more time. Daniel W. Drezner
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at
Tufts University was
highly critical of Tillerson, calling him an "unmitigated
disaster", and "the most incompetent Secretary of State in
Elliot Cohen of
Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University said
that Tillerson might be one of the weakest Secretaries of State in
American history. Elizabeth Saunders of George Washington
University said that Tillerson's tenure had damaged the State
Department "for a generation" and decreased America's ability to
respond to major crisis.
Tillerson's tenure as Secretary of State lasted 405 days, one of the
shortest tenures in modern history. Tillerson is the shortest-serving
Secretary since Lawrence Eagleburger, who served during the last month
of President George H. W. Bush's term. Excluding Secretaries whose
tenures were ended by the arrival of a new presidential
administration, Tillerson is the shortest-serving Secretary since
1900. According to long-time diplomat Aaron David Miller,
Tillerson is also the only Secretary of State since at least 1945 to
have been fired.
Tillerson ended his tenure as Secretary of State on March 31, 2018.
Tillerson greets German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Washington,
D.C., February 2, 2017
In October 2017,
Politico reported that Tillerson's major foreign
policy positions include "urging the
United States to stay in the
Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate accord, taking a hard
line on Russia, advocating negotiations and dialogue to defuse the
mounting crisis with North Korea, advocating for continued U.S.
adherence to the
Iran nuclear deal, taking a neutral position in the
Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and reassuring jittery allies,
from South Korea and Japan to our NATO partners, that America still
has their back".
Russia and Saudi Arabia
In 2014, Tillerson expressed opposition to the sanctions against
Russia in response to the annexation of Crimea at an
meeting. He told the meeting "We do not support sanctions,
generally, because we don't find them to be effective unless they are
very well implemented comprehensively and that's a very hard thing to
do." In 2016, Tillerson said that the US should have deployed
military units to neighboring states next to
Russia in a more
"muscular" response. In 2017, Tillerson said that Russia's
annexation of Crimea was illegal. He also compared China's
controversial island-building in the
South China Sea
South China Sea to Russia's
annexation of Crimea.
Tillerson and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Washington, D.C.,
March 23, 2017
During his Secretary of State confirmation hearings,
Marco Rubio asked
Tillerson if he would label
Saudi Arabia as a "human rights violator".
Tillerson declined to do so, saying: "When you designate someone or
label someone, is that the most effective way to have progress be able
to be made in
Saudi Arabia or any other country?" He supported
the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.
Climate change and carbon tax
Tillerson announced in 2009 that
ExxonMobil favored a carbon tax as
"the most efficient means of reflecting the cost of carbon in all
economic decisions—from investments made by companies to fuel their
requirements to the product choices made by consumers". In
October 2016, less than two months before his nomination as Secretary
of State, he reaffirmed that
ExxonMobil believed a carbon tax would be
"the best policy of those being considered. Replacing the hodge-podge
of current, largely ineffective regulations with a revenue-neutral
carbon tax would ensure a uniform and predictable cost of carbon
across the economy ... allow market forces to drive solutions ...
maximize transparency, reduce administrative complexity, promote
global participation and easily adjust" to new knowledge in climate
science and in the policy consequences of various courses of
An article in The
New York Times
New York Times suggested that ExxonMobil's embrace
of a carbon tax in October 2009 may have simply been an effort to
avoid cap and trade legislation that was then being considered by the
U.S. Congress as an alternative method of carbon pricing. A Time
magazine article in December 2016 asserted that since Tillerson
announced his company's preference for a carbon tax,
not made a carbon tax a focus of its massive lobbying efforts and has
supported a number of candidates and organizations that oppose
measures to tackle the climate change issue".
In 2010, Tillerson said that while he acknowledged that humans were
affecting the climate through greenhouse gas emissions to some degree,
it was not yet clear "to what extent and therefore what can you do
In 2016, Tillerson stated, "The world is going to have to continue
using fossil fuels, whether they like it or not."
Support for the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Tillerson with China's President
Xi Jinping before their bilateral
meeting in Beijing, March 19, 2017
In 2013, Tillerson outlined his support for the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP), stating at the Global Security Forum: "One of the
most promising developments on this front is the ongoing effort for
Trans-Pacific Partnership ... The 11 nations that have been
working to lower trade barriers and end protectionist policies under
this partnership are a diverse mix of developed and developing
economies. But all of them understand the value of open markets to
growth and progress for every nation."
Tillerson, South Korean Foreign Minister
Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese
Foreign Minister Tarō Kōno, August 7, 2017
Speaking in March 2007 at a
Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations event,
United States seek so-called energy independence in an
elusive effort to insulate this country from the impact of world
events on the economy, or should Americans pursue the path of
international engagement, seeking ways to better compete within the
global market for energy? Like the Council's founders, I believe we
must choose the course of greater international engagement ...
The central reality is this: The global free market for energy
provides the most effective means of achieving U.S. energy security by
promoting resource development, enabling diversification, multiplying
our supply channels, encouraging efficiency, and spurring
In 2012 in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Tillerson
expressed his impatience with government regulation, stating "there
are a thousand ways you can be told 'no' in this country."
Tillerson with Philippine President
Rodrigo Duterte at Malacañang
Palace in Manila, Philippines on August 7, 2017
In September 2013, Tillerson wrote an op-ed piece in The Wall Street
Journal defending Common Core.
Republican campaign fundraising and donations
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Tillerson has made
tens of thousands of dollars of political donations to Republican
groups and candidates. According to FEC records, he gave a total
of $468,970 in contributions to Republican candidates and committees
from 2000 to 2016.
He has contributed to the political campaigns of George W. Bush,
as well as
Mitt Romney in 2012, and Mitch McConnell. He did not
donate to Donald Trump's campaign. He donated to Jeb Bush's
campaign during the 2016 Republican primaries.
Tillerson and Renda St. Clair on February 1, 2017
Rex Tillerson has been married twice. He divorced his first wife, with
whom he has twin boys. In 1986, Tillerson married Renda St.
Clair, who has a son from her previous marriage. Tillerson also
has a son, born in 1988, with St. Clair. Tillerson's twin
sons are engineers and hold their bachelor's degrees from the Cockrell
School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. In
2006, Tillerson was named a Distinguished Engineering Graduate.
Tillerson resides in Bartonville, Texas. Following his
appointment as Secretary of State, Tillerson bought a home in
Kalorama, Washington, D.C.
He is a
Congregationalist who holds a membership in the National
Association of Congregational Christian Churches, a mainline Reformed
denomination. He and his wife donated between $5,000 and
$10,000 to the denomination's The
Congregationalist Magazine in
On February 20, 2014, news outlets reported that Tillerson and his
wife had joined opponents of a proposed water tower that could lead to
fracking-related traffic near their homes. Plaintiffs included former
U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader
Dick Armey and his
wife. The Tillersons dropped out of the lawsuit after a
judge dismissed their claim in November 2014.
In 2015, Tillerson was named as the 25th most powerful person in the
world by Forbes.
List of Secretaries of State of the United States
List of foreign ministers in 2017
List of current foreign ministers
List of people and companies named in the Paradise Papers
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Tillerson said he planned to immediately step aside from his post,
turning over all responsibilities by the end of the day to John J.
Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state. During a short statement in a
briefing room packed with reporters, Mr. Tillerson said he would end
his service at midnight on March 31 ...
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United States Secretary of State
United States Secretaries of State
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Donald Trump (2017–present)
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Rex Tillerson (2017–2018)
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