WATCH: Morning Joe Panel on Tillerson and Israel
Lingering questions about the expected appointment of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and his unknown stance on Israel was a topic of discussion on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program Monday morning.
The following are two videos and some excerpts of the discussion:
NBC’s Joe Scarborough: “I think the bigger challenge for Rex Tillerson… the bigger problem may actually be Israel. And that’s what the Trump transition is going to have to deal with. Because if you can pick somebody to reverse the damage of the past eight years, where America’s relationships with the Gulf states and Sunni Arab nations across the Middle East, it will be hard to find somebody that can do that better than Rex Tillerson because he has been doing business with these people and making lots of money for everybody for 15-20 years, but as close as he is to those Sunni Arab nations, that also is a blind spot regarding Israel because, of course, he hasn’t done business with Israel – because there is no oil in Israel.”
Washington Post’s David Ignatius: “He needs to tell Israelis, ‘Yes, I am very close to the Gulf Arabs, but that doesn’t mean I am not going to be sympathetic to Israel.’”
Scarborough: “They (team Trump) are obsessing over a possible Mideast peace deal. That’s what they want to do. They want to hit the grand slams. Tillerson is lined up very well to do that – with Arab countries. But there is this issue of Israel that, obviously, they are going to have to work and finesse, and that could be a challenge as well that they have to overcome.”
“There seem to be two major criticisms. One, obviously, his close relationship with Putin, and, secondly, we haven’t heard it yet, but it’s coming after the Putin talk dissipates, can he forge a good relationship with Israel?”