Corker quip: Senate Democrats wouldn’t support the Pope

A brief from Politico’s daily notebook on Washington doings:

Corker not impressed: Asked about whether Tillerson had done enough to avoid any potential conflicts of interest with Exxon, Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker said he was “satisfied” and suggested Democrats were engaged in a purely political fight. “If the Pope were nominated right now as secretary of State, he likely would not get any Democratic votes right now or very few,” the Tennessee Republican quipped to reporters.

Corker’s latest official press release praising Rex Tillerson is below.

News release from Sen. Bob Corker

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today urged his colleagues to support the nomination of Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State. A majority of senators approved a procedural motion on Monday evening that will set a final vote on Tillerson’s nomination on Wednesday.

“As we proceed in ensuring the new administration has the leaders it needs to implement our nation’s foreign policy going forward, I have great confidence that Rex Tillerson will serve the United States well,” said Corker in remarks on the Senate floor. “In both my private meetings with him and in the hours of public testimony he offered before the Foreign Relations Committee, it has become clear he will be an effective leader at the State Department… I encourage all of my colleagues to support his confirmation.”

Corker also discussed the process by which the committee considered Tillerson’s nomination.

“The proceedings in the Foreign Relations Committee for his nomination were fair, exhaustive, and in the best traditions of our committee and the Senate,” added Corker. “There is no question that the committee and the Senate has fulfilled its constitutional responsibility in carefully reviewing his nomination.”

“Mr. Tillerson completed all of his required paperwork expeditiously, having met or exceeded the pace set by former Secretary Hillary Clinton after she was nominated in 2008,” continued Corker. “He testified at a public hearing for more than eight hours and afterwards responded to over 1,000 additional questions for the record from committee members… Furthermore, the non-partisan Director of the Office of Government Ethics recently stated that Mr. Tillerson is ‘making a clean break from Exxon’ and has even gone so far as to say that Tillerson’s ‘ethics agreement serves as a sterling model for what we’d like to see with other nominees.’”

Former President George W. Bush; former Vice President Dick Cheney; former secretaries of state James A. Baker and Condoleezza Rice; former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; and former Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) have endorsed Tillerson’s nomination.

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