Will Rubio Squeeze Trump Over Tillerson Nomination?

By Eric G Braun, Senior Writer, USRW

President Elect Trump called him “Little Marco”, insulting him because of his profuse sweating, and his large ears, and during the Republican Primaries, Trump beat him worse than what TSA does to your baggage. It’s a script worthy of an Oliver Stone conspiracy movie, and Senator Marco Rubio, (R) Fla., has the leading role for paying Trump back.

Rubio sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and is the swaying vote on a panel that has 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. It’s a good shot that all the Democrats will oppose the nomination of Rex Tillerson, and Rubio’s vote is crucial to his former nemesis, Trump.

If Rubio votes Tillerson down, it could stop the nomination or at least, stall it, and make Trump squirm. Rubio, who had a contested question/ answer period with Tillerson, has the catbird's seat, he can play spoiler to Trump and give him his first defeat, or he can play ball.

"This is a very important decision, and I recognize the partisan split on the committee and what it would all mean,” he told reporters after the hearing. “So, I have to make sure I am 100 percent behind whatever decision that I make, because once I make it, it isn’t going to change.” 

Rubio also told CNN, “I’m prepared to do what’s right. I’m not analyzing it from a partisan perspective.”

Despite his rhetoric, I predict he will play ball.

First, Rubio, still bruising from the primary, would be foolish to challenge Trump at this juncture. To embarrass a republican president after such a heated and contentious election would show cracks in the GOP’s armor.

That’s not what the party is looking for.

Rubio’s questioning of Tillerson arguably crossed the line though. He wanted Tillerson to call Russian President Putin a war criminal. In Tillerson’s defense, he was right when he refused to do so. An incoming Secretary of State cannot call foreign leaders names, then be expected to do his job and negotiate with them. Rubio’s’ demand is unreasonable and borders on being unethical to demand that of an incoming Secretary of State.

Karma could come back to haunt Trump though, as he has a handful of his fellow Republicans who aren’t smitten by him, and could cause him problems early on.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Rand Paul, and Senator Ted Cruz were all victims of Trump during the campaign, and then there’s the maverick himself, Senator John McCain, a war hero, and former POW, who Trump admonished for getting caught.

Rubio is no dummy, he knows how the game is played. He will milk this for all it’s worth and enjoy watching Trump twist in the wind. Rubio will end up meeting with Trump, get some pet projects and a "player to be named later”promise, and take one for the team.

The GOP is in a shattered state, despite the “upset of the ages”, and they need to be keenly aware that any slight fractures or sprains will give the Democrats fuel for the fire.  Rubio will heed the call for party unity and be rewarded for voting for Tillerson’s nomination.

Rubio’s been planning to do just that all along I suspect, and the rest is politics as usual.

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