Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland revealed on Monday that he will oppose the nomination of President Donald Trump‘s Secretary of State choice, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson.
Just hours before the senate committee votes on Tillerson, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s leading Democrat exclaimed disapproval over Tillerson’s business relationships, and took issue with his answers to questions posed to him at hearings held last week.
Cardin lays out a statement as to why Tillerson “could compromise” the safety of the U.S., specifically in regards to Russia:
“Tillerson was unwilling to characterize Russia and Syria’s atrocities as war crimes, or Philippine President Duterte’s extrajudicial killings as gross human rights violations. And he was not willing to dismiss with unqualified clarity a registry for any ethnic or religious group of Americans. Russia attacked us through cyber warfare and has committed even greater atrocities in Ukraine, Syria, and Eastern Europe. They must be held accountable and our bipartisan legislation is an important tool to do so.”
Along with Sen. John McCain, Cardin introduced heavier sanctions against Russia earlier this month claiming Moscow played a role dictating the U.S. presidential election. Cardin intends to introduce further sanctions alongside Sen. Chuck Schumer this week, as well as legislation that will limit Trump’s ability to lift the sanctions without congressional approval.
Other Democratic senators such as Tim Kaine and Jeff Merkley plan to oppose Tillerson’s nomination. Republicans, however, hold a one-seat advantage over the Democrats on the committee. The swing vote falls upon the shoulders of Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who says he will approve Tillerson.
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