As Washington gets back to work after the Holiday break and it begins the process of Congressional hearings for nominations over Trump’s cabinet, so the resistance to those appointments is increasing too.
You can pick any number of Presidential nominees for their regressive and abhorrent policies on women, religion, gay rights, or the environment, but for many people a line is crossed in the sand with the appointment of Rex Tillerson, former Exxon chief executive, who stepped down from the oil giant on New Year’s day.
Here is a man whose company led the climate denial charge for decades. Here is a man whose company is now subject to a criminal investigation into lying to shareholders and the public about the science and risks of climate change. Here is a man whose company stands accused of human rights abuses too and for over 40 years has always put Exxon first, no matter the cost to life or the environment. This is a man who has oil running through his veins, not stars and stripes on his heart.
On Monday, progressive groups Other 98 Action and Oil Change USA are launching a joint campaign pressuring Senators to reject the nomination of recent ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Visit RejectExxon to send your Senators a letter, and to stay involved in the fight against Trump’s Team Oil.
Tillerson is a blinkered oilman to the last…yesterday’s man, who believes in yesterday’s technology and is wedded to yesterday’s thinking.
As Lee Wasserman, the director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, so elegantly wrote in the LA Times: Tillerson: “rose through its ranks to CEO, but he was so cloistered in its corporate culture that he could not appreciate the decline of an outdated business model. As a case study for MBA students, that’s perhaps instructive; as a biography of the nominee to be secretary of State, that’s frightening.”
As well as decades of old climate denial, Tillerson headed the company in the new era of climate denial, believing that the company could just carry on drilling for oil, no matter the science and increasingly evidence that we cannot burn all the fossil fuel reserves. As more and more influential people warned of stranded assets or unburnable carbon, Exxon kept on drilling.
Lee Wasserman again: “Most profoundly, Tillerson has never backed down from Exxon Mobil’s position that it can pump and burn all its known fossil fuel reserves”.
Add to that Exxon’s disregard for free speech, transparency and Tillerson’s closeness to Putin and we have a real problem: “For the next four years a fossil-fuel-friendly Trump administration and Vladimir Putin’s Russia could be aligned around one goal: sell as much oil and gas as possible, climate change be damned,” argues Wasserman.
To try and placate the growing number of critics, and the stench of a conflict of interest, it has been announced that Tillerson has relinquished control of an estimated $240 million in Exxon shares. But that move is unlikley to placate the growing number of critics who oppose Tillerson’s nomination.
Tillerson’s confirmation hearing before the US senate is scheduled to begin next week. Sometime over the next few days he is scheduled to meet Senator John McCain, who has told the press: “I want to hear from him on a whole range of concerns. A whole range of concerns that I have.”
He is not the only one with concerns. Millions of others have deep concerns too. And millions of people have begun the process of resistance against Trump and his nominations.
Ezra Levin, Leah Greenberg and Angel Padilla, the co-authors of “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda,” outline how progressives should learn from tactics of the Tea Party as they take the fight to Trump:
“Unlike President Obama, President-elect Trump has no mandate, a slim congressional majority and a slew of brewing scandals. Our incoming president is a weak president, and he can be beat,” they argue in an editorial in the New York Times.
The fight they say won’t be in Washington, but at a local level where you can tell your representatives what you think. “Find your members of Congress and start following their work. Show up at their local offices and let them know you’re watching. Remind them that they represent you, not Donald Trump. Together, we can resist.”
And this is exactly what is happening.
Tomorrow, on January 9th, it is the “Day against denial”. In all 50 states people will send a message to every US Senator: “reject Donald Trump’s reckless climate denying cabinet nominees”, including Tillerson, but also Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator; Ex-Gov. Rick Perry for Secretary of Energy and Rep. Ryan Zinke for Department of Interior.
As the call to action notes: “The climate is changing, and anyone who denies this shouldn’t be in the White House cabinet. It’s up to the Senate to stop these nominations — and up to us to show up in person to tell our Senators to fight Trump’s Climate Denial Cabinet”.
So #RejectExxon and get organizing.