In case you weren’t already terrified, Dick Cheney — perhaps the most reviled Vice President in American history — is now one of Trump’s key partners.
After Trump nominated ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be his Secretary of State, opposition leaders like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) made their opposition to his appointment loud and clear. Even prominent Republicans, like former presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), publicly voiced their opposition to Tillerson, citing his close ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
With a tough road ahead for his top diplomat to-be, Trump appears to be turning to Cheney — also a former oil executive — to help sway Republicans to his side. On Friday, Politico reported that the former Vice President and Halliburton chief had already made a personal call to Sen. Rubio in order to “move Marco the right way,” according to an unnamed source cited by Politico. Cheney is also having multiple conversations with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who has publicly stated he wants to be like Cheney as Vice President.
The relationship between the incoming Trump administration and Cheney is particularly strange, as Cheney — who has been previously accused by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) of pushing for the Iraq War for profit — is widely seen as a representative of the “political establishment” that Trump spent much of the campaign season trashing. However, Politico is reporting that Cheney’s establishment credentials is hoped by the Trump transition team to be the kick in the pants Senate Republicans need to rubber-stamp the President-elect’s pick.
“I think the pitch Cheney should make is that the Senate has traditionally supported the president’s Cabinet nominees,” said an unnamed former Republican senatorial aide in an interview with Politico.
However, the divide between establishment Republicans and the Trump administration was made painfully clear by one senior Trump transition team member, meaning Cheney will likely be working around the clock to convince members of his party to back Tillerson.
“Lawmakers are overall the reason we have the problems that we have, because they think that they’re the smartest people in the world and they sit in D.C. and talk to themselves, and if you don’t sit on the cocktail circuit there you don’t know anything about anything,” the anonymous transition team member told Politico. “I think they’re intimidated by a guy like this — they don’t know him and he doesn’t owe them anything.”
If Tillerson’s appointment is confirmed, Trump would be in an excellent position to lift sanctions imposed on Russia after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014. A potential removal of sanctions would mean ExxonMobil’s $500 billion deal with the Russian Federation for Arctic oil drilling could commence.
Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or friend him on Facebook.