Sen. Warner Breaks Party Lines, Votes for Tillerson

Sen. Warner Breaks Party Lines, Votes for Tillerson

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D) was one of three Democrats who voted to confirm former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State on Feb. 1.

They joined all 52 Republicans and Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, in the 56-43 vote for Tillerson.

“Mr. Tillerson clearly would not have been my first choice for Secretary of State. I disagree with him on many issues, including Exxon Mobil’s stance on climate change and lobbying against Russian sanctions,” Warner said in a statement.

“I respect the fact that he has chosen at this point in his career to serve the nation. I know that there are many people who disagree with my decision, but I believe that he will bring a more experienced, measured voice to an Administration that has so far struggled to demonstrate any rational approach to foreign policy.”

Warner has voted to confirm all four Trump Administration cabinet positions that have been brought so far to the full floor. He has said he will oppose Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVoss as well as Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, Secretary of the Treasury nominee Steven Mnuchin and Health & Human Services nominee Tom Price.

Virginia’s other senator, Tim Kaine (D), had expressed concerns with Tillerson since he was first announced as the nominee. Kaine said he was worried about Tillerson’s disregard for environmental issues while CEO of one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies as well as his close ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin. He joined 41 other Democrats and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in opposing the nomination.