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File photo / Tesla founder Elon Musk arrives for the the annual Allen and Co. media conference Sun Valley, Idaho
Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave a surprising endorsement for Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil CEO, for secretary of state.
Musk tweeted that Tillerson has the potential to be an “excellent” secretary of state in reply to an Economist article published in December titled, “Give Rex a chance.”
“Rex is an exceptionally competent executive, understands geopolitics and knows how to win for his team. His team is now the USA,” Musk said on Twitter.
Musk acknowledged that his endorsement may be “surprising” on Twitter. Considering Tesla makes zero-emissions vehicles and recently made a big investment in solar energy, surprising may be somewhat of an understatement.
As Vox points out, Tillerson admitted in a 2012 Council for Foreign Relations interview that increasing emissions does have an impact. But between 2012 and 2013, Tillerson has said society can adapt to any changes that come from climate change and that there isn’t a “viable pathway” to limit emissions to 350 parts per million or less without devastating economies or people’s health.
That stands in stark contrast to Musk’s perspective, who wrote in his “Master Plan, Part Deux” in August that Tesla’s commitment to solar energy and electric vehicles is connected to reducing harmful carbon emissions.
“By definition, we must at some point achieve a sustainable energy economy or we will run out of fossil fuels to burn and civilization will collapse,” Musk wrote. “Given that we must get off fossil fuels anyway and that virtually all scientists agree that dramatically increasing atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels is insane, the faster we achieve sustainability, the better.”
Tillerson narrowly won approval by the Republican-led Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Tillerson would be the first Secretary of State without experience in the public sector if he is confirmed by the full Senate.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio also announced his support for Tillerson just a few hours before the Foreign Relations Committee cast its votes, despite saying he had reservations about Tillerson due to sympathetic views toward Russia.
Tillerson’s ties to Russia go back nearly two decades, back to when he met with President Vladimir Putin in 1999 when he first represented Exxon’s interests in Russia. He has done business with Russia and has worked with Rosneft, a major Russian state-run corporation, since the 1990s.
President Donald Trump himself has come under fire for having potential ties to Russia. Those ties came under particular scrutiny after the publication of a 35-page dossier from a former British intelligence officer alleging the campaign colluded with the Kremlin to undermine Hillary Clinton. Those claims not been verified.
Trump has publicly said he thinks Russia was behind the hacking and release of emails from within the Democratic National Committee as well as Clinton’s campaign chair.
Musk said in a Tweet that he shares the same opinion as The Economist in that Tillerson should be given the “benefit of the doubt unless his actions prove otherwise.” The article states that Tillerson should be given a chance because he has experience working with “notoriously slippery world leaders” and has a reputation for “evidence-based decision-making.”Source: Business Insider