Trevor Noah sized up the qualifications of President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state,
Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson.
“The question is: What the hell does an oil man know about the intricacies of international relations? Well, it turns out a lot,” the host said in a tongue-in-cheek segment called “Profiles in Tremendousness” on Tuesday’s “Daily Show.”
Noah admitted he had never heard of Tillerson before the pick, but he surmised from media reports that Tillerson’s qualifications for the highest-level diplomatic position in the US are “impressive.” They include working alongside the State Department in the course of operating in 50 countries around the world, and the fact that Exxon Mobil has its own intelligence department.
“Wow. That’s insane. This guy has his own CIA? I’m impressed by that,” Noah said. “Another important part of being secretary of state is cultivating good relationships with key foreign leaders. The question is: Is Tillerson up for the job? And the answer is hell to the dah.”
Noah’s use of “dah,” which means yes in Russian, is a reference to Tillerson’s strong relationship with Russia. In addition to doing business with Russian oil companies, he has a relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In fact, Putin awarded Tillerson the country’s Order of Friendship Medal in 2013.
“You know your country’s hardcore when friendship gets a medal,” Noah joked. “Tillerson even got Vladimir Putin to smile. Yeah, look at that. Nobody’s ever done that before.”
But Tillerson’s “impressive” Russian ties have been widely viewed as problematic, especially after the CIA found that Russia interfered in the presidential election to help Trump win. Additionally, Exxon Mobil was nearing a $500 billion oil deal under Tillerson, which was blocked when President Barack Obama placed sanctions on Russia after it invaded Ukraine.
That led to Noah putting two and two together.
“Those sanctions are firm,” the host said. “To lift them, you’d need somebody like the secretary of state to convince the pres — oh, look at that. I don’t know if Russia hacked the election and tilted it toward Trump. But if they did, that investment has already paid off.”
Watch the latest edition of “Profiles in Tremendousness” below:
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