Rex Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil CEO who was confirmed today as secretary of state, was whacked mercilessly by critics for not being a member of the D.C. striped-pants set—despite the fact that he’s one of the most accomplished corporate diplomats of our time.
So it’s a little ironic that, had Tillerson been okayed last week as secretary, he might well have prevented President Trump’s ham-handedness in rolling out a temporary moratorium on newcomers from terror-prone, majority Muslim countries. The executive order will likely show support among a not-insignificant swath of Americans, as evidenced by the right-leaning pollster Rasmussen as well as the more down-the-middle predictor FiveThirtyEight. But the manner in which it was unveiled and enacted undeniably left critics with a big, fat, juicy, heart-string-tugging target to attack.
Tillerson, who’s used to dealing with the most sensitive issues in the world’s toughest venues, surely would have had a better handle on the moratorium’s optics. A native of Wichita Falls, a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, and an employee of Irving-based Exxon since 1975, Tillerson was confirmed in the Senate by a vote of 56 to 43. And not a moment too soon, the president probably agrees.