President Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives at the State Department for his first day on the job. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addressed his staff Thursday (February 2) saying their safety would be a core value of the Department and joked how he's the 'new guy'. The U.S. Senate confirmed Tillerson as President Donald Trump's secretary of state on Wednesday, filling a key spot on the Republican's national security team despite concerns about the former Exxon Mobil Corp chief executive officer's ties to Russia. The vote, mostly along party lines, was by far the closest in at least half a century. Fifty-six senators backed Tillerson, and 43 voted no. Every Republican favored Tillerson, along with four members of the Democratic caucus, Senators Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin and Mark Warner as well as Angus King, an independent. Democratic Senator Chris Coons did not vote. Tillerson's predecessor in the position, John Kerry, was confirmed by 94 to 3. Condoleezza Rice, the last secretary of state nominated by a Republican, was confirmed by 85-13. Senators had also expressed concerns over Tillerson's ties to Russia after the executive spent years there working for the oil company. Some faulted him for failing to promise to recuse himself from matters related to Exxon Mobil businesses for his entire term as secretary of state rather than only the one year required by law. Republicans and other Tillerson supporters said they thought he would be a strong leader as the country's top diplomat, citing his experience running a giant corporation operating on six continents. They also said it was important to finalize Trump's national security team quickly, to address international crises and reassure allies wondering about the new president's "America First" foreign policy.