Trump to name Exxon Mobil CEO as secretary of state, NBC News reports



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SALT LAKE CITY — It appears former GOP presidential candidate and adopted Utah favorite son Mitt Romney won't become secretary of state.

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson to the post, NBC News reported on Saturday citing two unidentified sources close to the transition process.

Tillerson, 64, became president of the Texas-based oil company in 2004 and has a close business relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has spent his entire career at the company now known as Exxon Mobil.

Tillerson met Saturday with Trump at Trump Tower in New York, the president-elect's spokesperson confirmed to NBC News.

Romney met twice with Trump in the past few weeks, once at his golf course in New Jersey and over dinner in New York. Trump said Wednesday that Romney was still under consideration for the job. He said then that he was "fairly close" to making a decision and would probably announce his choice next week.

Romney and Trump traded caustic barbs during the campaign. Romney called Trump and "fraud" and a "phony," while Trump labeled Romney a "choker" for losing the 2012 presidential election.

The two men also disagreed over Russia. During his run for president, Romney called Russia the biggest threat to the U.S. Trump has signaled he wants closer ties with Russia.

The selection of Tillerson comes after Trump and his transition team spent weeks searching for someone to fill the post of the top U.S. diplomat. In addition to Romney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and retired Gen. David Petraeus were reportedly in the running.

Giuliani said Friday he had removed his name from consideration. In doing so, he told FOX News that Romney went over the line in the things he said about Trump.

"My advice would be that Mitt went just a little too far. You can make friends and make up, but I would not see him as a candidate for the cabinet," Giuliani said.

Tillerson would be paired with former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton as his deputy secretary of state for day-to-day management of the department, one source told NBC.

As secretary of state, Tillerson would be fourth in line to the presidency.

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Dennis Romboy

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