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John McCain says he will vote for Trump’s secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson

PHOENIX — Arizona Sen. John McCain said on Sunday that he will vote for President Donald Trump’s secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, despite concerns over Tillerson’s relationship with Russia.

“After careful consideration, and much discussion with Mr. Tillerson, we have decided to support his nomination to be Secretary of State,” McCain said in a joint statement with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. “Though we still have concerns about his past dealings with the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin, we believe that Mr. Tillerson can be an effective advocate for U.S. interests.”

The senators went on to say that now more than ever with America’s friends growing more discouraged and our enemies growing emboldened, that we need a secretary of state who recognizes that our nation cannot succeed in the world by itself.

“We must strengthen our alliances and partnerships across the globe, and marshal them to defend our shared vision of world order,” the senators said. “It is the American people more than anyone else who have benefited from this long tradition of U.S. global leadership. The views that Mr. Tillerson has expressed, both privately and publicly during the confirmation process, give us confidence that he will be a champion for a strong and engaged role for America in the world.”

The shift comes weeks after McCain said he would support Tillerson “when pigs fly.”

Both Democrats and Republicans have had concerns over Tillerson’s relationship with the Russian government.

Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, has had numerous business dealings with the Russian government, including an agreement with the state oil company to explore and pump oil out of Siberia that could be worth tens of billions of dollars.

As a result of his business dealings, Tillerson was awarded the Order of Friendship by the Russian President Putin in 2013, and many have raised concerns over his effectiveness as secretary of state and the blurred lines between interests as an oil man and the role of America’s leading diplomat.

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