From NBC News … the point, again, is not whether these nominees will be passed … most of them probably will …
The point is there are MAJOR sections of the political elite — including significant RPBs — who are OPENLY challenging not just Trump personally … but his whole rationale for the people he’s nominating …
This is major blood-letting that is NOT going to be forgotten on any side, whatever the short-term result …
“Breitbart, the normally pro-Trump, right-wing website formerly run by top Trump adviser Steve Bannon, accused the president-elect putting foreign labor ahead of American workers by choosing fast food CEO Andrew Puzder to lead the Department of Labor.
The Conservative Review, meanwhile, called Puzder an “open border zealot.”
Meanwhile, Erick Erickson, a staunch Trump critic who applauded him for picking Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general, wrote for his conservative website The Resurgent that nominating former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnunchin would mean the ratification of the “status quo.”
But it was perhaps the news that Trump intends to tap ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson that has engendered the most vocal opposition from elected officials within his party.
Sen. John McCain told NBC News on Saturday after the news broke that he has concerns over Tillerson’s ties with Russia and that it would be the subject of any Senate confirmation hearing.
Tillerson, who has spent his entire career with the energy company, has close ties to Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, a relationship cultivated through his company’s dealings in the country.
And Tillerson has openly criticized the Obama Administration for imposing sanctions against Russia for invading Crimea in 2014, since those sanctions negatively affected ExxonMobil’s lucrative oil deals in the country.
To some, the news of Tillerson’s expected nomination is the strongest indicator yet of how Trump intends to approach the United States’ relationship to Russia.
New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez, senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, which vets candidates, called Tillerson’s potential nomination “alarming and absurd.”
Marco Rubio was one of the first Republicans to take a shot a Tillerson, with the Florida senator tweeting, “Being a ‘friend of Vladimir’ is not an attribute I am hoping for from a #SecretaryOfState.”
Meanwhile, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said he would be an “automatic no” vote against former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, who sources told NBC News Trump will name as Tillerson’s deputy secretary of state.
Bolton argued forcefully in 2002 that Iraq had hidden weapons of mass destruction and continued to defend his position even after it was discovered that Iraq harbored no such weapons.
“John Bolton doesn’t get it. He still believes in regime change. He’s still a big cheerleader for the Iraq War. He’s promoted a nuclear attack by Israel on Iran. He wants to do regime change in Iran,” Rand said.
Trump, appealing to anti-interventionists on the campaign trail, repeatedly made the false claim claim that he was against the Iraq War ahead of the invasion.
The news of Tillerson’s expected nomination came a day after the CIA concluded that Russia interfered with the U.S. election with the intent of helping Trump win.
In response to the CIA’s analysis, McCain, along with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed, issued a joint statement.
“For years, foreign adversaries have directed cyberattacks at America’s physical, economic, and military infrastructure, while stealing our intellectual property. Now our democratic institutions have been targeted. Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American,” they said. “This cannot become a partisan issue. The stakes are too high for our country.”