From The Reporter's Notebook
President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, has decades of private sector experience with the very issues he would face in the presidential Cabinet, including climate change and Russian sanctions, TPM’s Matt Shuham reported. Under Tillerson’s leadership, Exxon has negotiated billions of dollars in deals with Russian state-owned oil and gas companies. “We always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who are they really harming with sanctions,” Tillerson told ExxonMobil's annual meeting in 2014.
Agree or Disagree?
Josh Marshall: "So these three people, who Trump has little if any relationship with and little reason to be friendly to suggest Tillerson and suddenly he's the nominee? Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting the story is false. I assume that as far as it goes this is what happened? But still, something does not quite add up. Let's run through a few things. 1) No personal relationship with Trump. 2) No experience in government, foreign policy or diplomacy. 3) Not someone who has ever been mentioned for Secretary of State or any top diplomatic position ever or apparently shown any interest in either. As I said, I recognize that someone who has had to negotiate business deals around the world does have some relevant experience. Still, this is an odd list of categories to be in and rocket from non-consideration to nominee."
"We've been friends for a long time."
- Though his Tuesday meeting with Kanye West shocked some, Donald Trump said the two have been close for some time: "Life."
BUZZING: Today in the Hive
From a TPM Prime member: "Likewise, I think the same thing has happened with what we think is the economic normal, and the stability and vitality of modern America’s middle class. What has also passed from most of living memory is the Great Depression, lessons learned from it. The robust endurance of America’s large middle class is not 'the natural state of things.' It seems that many alive today don’t understand the fundamental role that SS and Medicare (and now the ACA) play in providing not only a safety net, but economic stability that has allowed the middle class to live in relative stability and ‘economic peace’ for the past 80+ years. Prior to that, life was much different. Take SS, Medicare and the ACA away, and the long term consequences are not hard to predict."
Related: The political climate around Social Security has shifted since the GOP’s last push to overhaul the program.
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What We're Reading
A history of the first African American White House. (The Atlantic)
The Red Pill community and neo-Nazis. (Jezebel)