Paul: 'Very Optimistic' About Trump, Won't 'Prejudge Tillerson's Patriotism'
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said this morning he's "very optimistic" about President-elect Donald Trump's administration and believes Rex Tillerson will be confirmed as secretary of state.
Tillerson has faced questions, including from Republicans like Arizona Sen. John McCain, about his close business relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow presented the CEO of Exxon Mobil with a "friendship" award in 2012, which McCain and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have pointed out.
Paul said that does not automatically make Tillerson an "unfit" choice, suggesting that a secretary of state who has a good relationship with Putin could be a positive.
"I think people have prejudged that, 'Oh, he got an award from Russia and therefore his chief interest would be Russia.' I presume his chief interest will be America and I wouldn't prejudge someone's patriotism or support of America," said Paul.
He said Tillerson's top interest in Russia was making money for Exxon Mobil and he expressed optimism that those deal-making skills could translate well to diplomacy.
Paul, who had some contentious moments with Trump during the GOP debates, said he's "very optimistic" about Trump's proposals, particularly on foreign policy.
"He doesn't want to build nations overseas, he wants to rebuild our country here. I agree completely with that. He doesn't believe in regime change, he thinks the Iraq War was a mistake," he explained.
Watch the full interview above.