Continetti on Tillerson Confirmation: Republicans Will Take on Reagan Maxim ‘Trust but Verify’

Washington Free Beacon editor in chief Matthew Continetti discussed Donald Trump's pick for secretary of state, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, and the potential confirmation battle he may face Tuesday on MSNBC's "Meet the Press Daily" with Chuck Todd.

Continetti and Todd examined potential difficulties Tillerson may face over his nomination stemming from the oil mogul's close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A majority of the Senate will need to vote to confirm Tillerson before he can serve as the president-elect's top diplomat.

Todd asked Continetti if Tillerson's Senate confirmation will be about the Exxon CEO's qualifications or Donald Trump's worldview about forging closer ties with Russia and Putin.

"It's an easy no vote for Democrats," Continetti said.

"They've got the environment, they've got Russia," Continetti added, referring to Tillerson's work history that Democrats will likely target.

Continetti then said Republicans will take on Ronald Regan's maxim: "trust but verify."

"They will trust the president's prerogative in appointing the people he wants in these positions. They will trust the figures that [Sen. Bob] Corker mentioned: Rice, Hadley, Gates, Baker, Cheney–the Republican foreign policy establishment, really," Continetti said. "But they want to see some verification in that hearing that Tillerson is able to talk about issues that probably don't fall in their purview of the CEO of ExxonMobil. There's a whole lot of global affairs that aren't business related."

Some prominent Republican senators, including Marco Rubio (Fla.), John McCain (Ariz.), and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) have expressed skepticism about Tillerson serving as the nation's chief diplomat because of his relationship with Putin.