Manchin to support Tillerson for State Department post

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Health Care — ObamaCare gets record numbers On The Money — Economy had post-recession growth in 2021 Progressives apply pressure on Biden, Senate to pass Build Back Better MORE (D-W.Va) is throwing his support behind Rex Tillerson's nomination to be secretary of State, making him the first Democrat to support the President Trump nominee.  

Manchin noted that he has known Tillerson "for years"  and pointed to his executive experience leading Exxon Mobil Corp. as "critical." 
 
"I have no hesitation in supporting Rex Tillerson's confirmation to be secretary of State after the Office of Government Ethics described his ethics agreement as a sterling model for what they would like to see from other nominees," Manchin said in a statement. 
 
He added that Tillerson will "bring a unique perspective to the state department, and I believe he will provide wise counsel and objective advice to the President on our nation's foreign policy." 
 
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Manchin is up one of 10 Democrats up for reelection in 2018 in states carried by Trump. 
 
The West Virginia Democrat is increasingly positioning himself as a bridge between the new administration and Senate Democrats, quickly bucking his party to become the first Democrat to also say he would vote for Alabama Sen. Jeff Session's attorney general nomination. 
 
Both Tillerson and Sessions are included on a list of eight nominations that Democrats are pledging to fight.  
 
Manchin's statement comes after Tillerson was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday, with none of the 10 Democrats on the committee supporting him. 
 
The Senate is expected to take up Tillerson's nomination next week, where he'll need a simple majority to be approved. 
 
Democrats have slammed Tillerson over his positions on sanctions and close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but they face an uphill battle to block his approval. In addition to Manchin's support, Republicans have a 52-seat majority.