Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Rex Tillerson is the least homophobic and the least likely to be confirmed of Trump's appointments

Rex Tillerson
Photo: Dallas Morning News
It is official. On Tuesday Donald Trump picked Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil to be our next secretary of state. Tony Perkins, leader of the hate group, Family Research Council, was “alarmed” on Monday at the prospect of Tillerson being tapped for the job. According to Perkins:
To hear that Donald Trump may be appointing a man who not only led the charge to open the Boy Scouts to gay troop leaders but whose company directly gives to Planned Parenthood is upsetting at best. FRC knows Tillerson all too well, having worked for years to put the brakes on his reckless agenda for a scouting organization that was already dealing with staggering numbers of sexual abuse cases. Unfortunately, the BSA, under Tillerson, ultimately caved to the pressure of the far-Left, irreparably splitting the Scouts and destroying a proud and honorable American tradition. Under his chairmanship, ExxonMobil's score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate "Equality" Index has also skyrocketed to 87 percent.
Tony Perkins' certitude that gay men are predators of young boys can only be the product of projection. Perkins would have people believe that the abuse of Scouts was at the hands of gay men and that is simply not the case. All of those abusers presented as heterosexual and most were probably married. Perkins is also claiming that allowing gay boys to be Scouts put other boys in danger. The policy was changed nearly three years ago. Gay adults have been able to serve as Scouting leaders since July of 2015. There is no evidence that those changes have had a negative effect.

Between 2016 and 2017 Exxon Mobil increased from 40% to 85% on HRC's Corporate Equality Index. If memory serves me correctly, is was in the twenties in 2015. Perkins puts the word “equality” in defensive quotes confirming the fact that the more positive the HRC score the less likely they are to be a company that Perkins likes. The religious right tend to view the CEI score as a zero-sum proposition. Their perception is that the better things are for LGBT employees, the worse they are for Christians. To put it another way, Perkins essentially asserts that Christians must be able to discriminate against LGBT people.

John Hamre, president of the Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies and a close friend of Tillerson, (who is on Hamre's board) told the Dallas Morning News regarding the decision by the Scouts to allow gay boys:
I can’t get into the intimacy of these conversations. But he agonized over this. He prayed on it, and ultimately he came to the conclusion the only thing that can guide him here is what’s best for the young boys. I think he became a key leader in helping the group come to a consensus.
If confirmed Tillerson might be to the closest thing to a friend in the Trump cabinet. However, Tillerson is an engineer by trade. His international business experience is probably inapplicable to diplomacy. Tillerson has very close and troubling ties to Russia and Vladimir Putin. Tillerson doesn't seem to be another of Trump's climate deniers. Rather, he has claimed that limiting carbon emissions would have a devastating impact on the economy.

The ties to Russia have caused consternation among some Republicans including my junior senator, Marco Rubio. They seem to be fine with a racist, homophobic prick like Jeff Sessions but Putin creates a red line. Tillerson may not be qualified  to be secretary of state and he doesn't appear to have the necessary votes in the Senate. His relative LGBT friendliness is possibly academic.

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