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WASHINGTON (AFP) – President-elect Donald Trump has tapped ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state, US media reported late Monday, setting up what will likely be contentious confirmation hearings over the oilman’s ties to Russia.
“I will be making my announcement on the next Secretary of State tomorrow morning,” Trump said Monday evening using his favored medium, Twitter.
News outlets including The New York Times, Washington Post and NBC News cited sources as saying the real estate mogul had settled on Tillerson after a drawn-out and public search for the nation’s top diplomat.
There had been eight or nine contenders for the job, including former CIA director David Petraeus, former UN ambassador John Bolton and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker.
Also on that list was erstwhile Trump critic and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who indicated on Facebook he was out of the running shortly after Trump said he would soon make his choice official.
“It was an honor to have been considered for secretary of state of our great country,” Romney wrote.
“My discussions with President-elect Trump have been both enjoyable and enlightening. I have very high hopes that the new administration will lead the nation to greater strength, prosperity and peace.”
CNN reported that Trump had called Romney to tell him he had not been selected.