In a long social media post, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) revealed that he will vote to confirm the nomination of Secretary of State-designate businessman Rex Tillerson, despite "reservations." The decision comes just ahead of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote on Tillerson's nomination, where Rubio has previously voiced public concern about Tillerson's refusal to call Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal or condemn human rights violations in the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.
Rubio's vote was sufficiently in doubt that as recently as last week, committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) voiced public doubts that Tillerson's nomination would emerge from the committee with a recommendation.
Rubio wrote of his personal reservations, "I must balance these concerns with his extensive experience and success in international commerce, and my belief that the president is entitled to significant deference when it comes to his choices for the cabinet."
He went on to clarify that this was a special circumstance, and that he would not give the same regard to any future nominees with whom he may have concerns. "Upcoming appointments to critical posts in the Department of State are not entitled to and will not receive from me the same level of deference I have given this nomination," Rubio added.
Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, has no previous experience in the public sector. He has worked very closely with Russia in his business ventures and was even awarded the Order of Friendship in 2013 directly from Putin.
Rubio’s announcement means that Tillerson’s nomination is likely to be reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a favorable recommendation, It also likely forecloses any possibility that Tillerson’s confirmation will be defeated or even significantly delayed.