National security at stake

Republicans must stand up to Donald Trump’s disastrous pick as secretary of state

Americans know that the billionaire class is a threat to the health of our democracy. We know about the Kochs of the world and their efforts to bend Washington to their will.

And so it came as a surprise that so many would vote for a billionaire president who has shown time and again that he’s willing to mow down the little guy, including the many hundreds of small-business owners he didn’t pay while building his financial empire. And now he’s stacking his cabinet with filthy rich cohorts who similarly have documented pasts that include efforts that run counter to the interests of the United States.

Perhaps the most troubling pick is Rex Tillerson, the Exxon Mobil CEO Trump has tapped for secretary of state. Tillerson has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, a dictator whom Arizona Sen. John McCain called a “butcher, murderer and thug.” One only has to look at the travesty in Aleppo this week to understand those comments. Tillerson’s connections to Putin are further troubling in light of the CIA’s report on the Kremlin’s interference in the U.S. general election.

McCain is poised to underscore Tillerson’s conflicts of interest during upcoming confirmation hearings on his appointment. But his Republican colleagues are going to take some prodding to go against Trump.

Now isn’t the time for them to be meek. They must put the interests of the country ahead of partisan politics. National security hangs in the balance.