When President Donald Trump began filling his cabinet with his picks, each one was a questionable choice, especially when it came to their relationships with Russia. Somehow, several seemed to have had suspicious meetings with Russian officials.
One of those picks with a dubious history involving Russia included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. After recent comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin, it raises questioning again regarding Tillerson’s relationship with the country.
CNN reported Putin appeared at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok where he made comments jokingly saying Tillerson had fallen in with the wrong crowd. He said:
‘We also awarded the Order of Friendship to Mr. Tillerson, your fellow countryman, but fell in with the wrong crowd. He is moving to a slightly different direction but I hope the wind of friendship and cooperation will take him to the right path eventually.’
How does that not scream Russia had high hopes of installing its favored officials into the American government in hopes of benefitting the country?
Tillerson, previously the CEO of ExxonMobil, was awarded the Order of Friendship by Putin in 2013. It is considered to be one of the highest honors that can be given to foreigners. The Los Angeles Times described the relationship between the two by writing:
‘Tillerson and Putin have a long, personal history. Tillerson, a former Exxon Mobil chief executive, helped build the oil company’s presence in Russia in the 1990s. He first met with Putin in 1999, when the Kremlin leader was Russia’s prime minister. Later, as president, Putin presided over the signing of a massive deal between Exxon Mobil, then led by Tillerson, and the state-owned Rosneft to develop oil and gas reserves in the Arctic and Baltic seas.’
Putin had more to say about Tillerson and his previous history and noted Russia still had connections to Tillerson’s former company.
‘Despite all of our complications today on the diplomatic level, we still have contacts with American companies, including such energy giants as Exxon, and Mr. Tillerson was the head of this company in the past. Despite that he is organizing searches in our diplomatic institutions, we still work on resolving (problems) with his ex-company.’
Tillerson recently ordered the closing of the Russian consulate in San Francisco and others in New York and Washington.
Putin also addressed the ongoing issue of North Korea and criticized the U.S.:
‘It’s counterproductive to inflate this military hysteria. This leads nowhere…It’s a provocation from North Korea, it’s obvious. They count on a specific reaction from the partners, and they get it. Why are you playing along with it? Have ever you thought about it?’
He also made comments on September 5 stating only peaceful dialogue could solve the issue with North Korea.
‘Ramping up military hysteria will not lead to anything good. It could lead to global planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue save that of peaceful dialogue.’
Featured image by Alex Wong/Getty Images.