In a vote strictly along party lines, Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to confirm former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State on Monday.
Despite unified opposition from Democrats on the committee and a campaign by climate action and corporate accountability groups, Tillerson’s confirmation now passes to the full Senate where the Republican majority is nearly certain to finalize his appointment.
Those who opposed Tillerson most aggressively responded to Monday’s vote by calling Republicans “spineless” and promised that the confirmation would only serve to further unify climate activists and the broader anti-Trump movement.
“The Senators voting to confirm Rex Tillerson have clearly left their spines at home. Instead of standing up to a historically unpopular President, they’re letting Trump hand the State department over to the oil and gas industry,” said Naomi Ages, the climate liability campaigner for Greenpeace.
“Confirming Rex Tillerson over the opposition of millions of Americans will be a call to action,” continued Ages. “To avoid the worst effects of climate change, we must unite and resist the hostile takeover of our government by the oil and gas industry.”
May Boeve, executive director for 350.org, offered a similar response, saying, “This committee just knowingly handed our international climate diplomacy over to a rogue oil mogul. The brazen attacks on climate from Tillerson and Trump’s corrupt cabinet will be met with tremendous backfire and resistance at every turn. We will come together, relentless and stronger than ever, as we speak truth to power.”
On social media, the #RejectRex hashtag feed was used to promote opposition to Tillerson’s confirmation was filled with equally harsh reactions after the vote: