Bernie Sanders issued a stern response to President-elect Donald Trump‘s nomination of ExxonMoil Corporation CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. In his statement, Sanders said that Tillerson must be opposed and accused Trump of putting fossil fuel profits in front of the needs of the planet.
“Very sad. Very dangerous. Mr. Tillerson must be opposed,” Sanders’ statement reads. “Mr. Trump is making it abundantly clear that the fossil fuel industry’s short-term profits are more important than the future of the planet.”
In a longer statement, Sanders said that nominating Tillerson sends a “very troubling message to the international community.”
Sanders full statement reads:
Mr. Trump’s nomination of Rex Tillerson for secretary of state is sending a very troubling message of the international community. Not only is Mr. Tillerson a pal of Russia’s authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin, but he is the head of one of the largest oil companies in the world. In this appointment, Mr. Trump is making it abundantly clear that the short-term profits of the fossil fuel industry are more important than climate change and the future of the planet. Very sad. Very dangerous. Mr. Tillerson must be opposed.
Sanders’ opposition to Tillerson is not surprising. He made climate change one of his key issues during his primary campaign against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
“Sadly, we now have a Republican Party that is more concerned about protecting the profits of Exxon, BP and Shell and the coal industry than protecting the planet,” Sanders said in a statement on his campaign site. “While fossil fuel companies are raking in record profits, climate change ravages our planet and our people – all because the wealthiest industry in the history of our planet has bribed politicians into ignoring science.”
ExxonMobil is also being investigated by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on allegations that it lied to investors and the public about the effects of climate change. Schneiderman alleges that Exxon knew about the dangers, but still backed groups that doubted climate change. Tillerson and the company deny those claims.
Tillerson, who has no prior government experience, must be confirmed by the Senate in order to become the U.S.’ top diplomat. There have already been two high-profile Republicans voicing concern about his nomination, including Marco Rubio and John McCain. However, these Senators focused on Tillerson’s friendship with Putin, not his views on climate change.
“Being a ‘friend of Vladimir’ is not an attribute I am hoping for from a #SecretaryOfState,” Rubio tweeted.
“It’s a matter of concern to me that he has such a close personal relationship with Vladimir Putin,” McCain told CBS News. “And obviously they’ve done enormous deals together and that would color his approach to Vladimir Putin and the Russian threat.”