We have previously raised concerns about Rex Tillerson’s record on human rights, climate change, and corruption, including his direct advocacy against transparency rules for oil and mining companies. Now that Tillerson has been dismissed from his post as Secretary of State, will there be progress on these issues?
Unfortunately, not likely. News reports suggest that Tillerson was fired not for any of these serious concerns, nor for his terrible management of the State Department, but simply because he called the President a “moron.” The White House intends to replace Tillerson with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, whose own record on these issues is less-than-stellar:
- While Tillerson’s Exxon, at least publicly, accepted the reality of climate change and professed support for the Paris agreement, Pompeo has been a vocal critic of Paris and is closely tied to the climate-denialist Koch brothers.
- Pompeo’s willingness to stand up for human rights is seriously in question; as Human Rights Watch has pointed out, he criticized President Obama’s efforts to stop torture.
- Pompeo was not in Congress for the key moments on extractive transparency policy, but given that the oil and gas industry was his top source of funding, it’s likely that he would continue to champion their positions, just as Tillerson did.
Tillerson was not the Secretary of State we needed, but neither is Pompeo. America deserves better.