Kellyanne Conway downplays Rex Tillerson's ties to Russia: "It’s not like he’s pounding down vodka with Vladimir Putin"

"He’s dealt with him in a business context," Trump's campaign manager said of his likely secretary of State pick

Published December 12, 2016 9:44PM (EST)

Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, on Monday defended the president-elect's likely secretary of State pick, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who's drawn criticism for his close ties to Russia.

"Secretary of State is the fourth-highest ranking individual in our government, a very important decision," Conway told ABC's "Good Morning America." "A leading candidate, Rex Tillerson of Exxon, has dealt with Russia for many years."

Conway promised that whoever Trump picks will "improve relationships and advance U.S. interests and advance the Trump doctrine."

She added: "It’s not like he’s pounding down vodka with Vladimir Putin at the local bar, but he’s dealt with him in a business context."

Tillerson has, indeed, dealt with Putin in a business context — in that the two were wearing business suits when they drank champagne together:

Conway also remarked on calls from Democrats — who she portrayed as sore losers — for an investigation into Russia's alleged attempts to interfere with the U.S. election.

"First it was Jim Comey's fault" that Clinton lost the election, she said. "Then let's have a recount, that wasted millions of dollars and everybody's time, that went nowhere. Then it's Russian interference. Then it's a bunch of people in a movement (white nationalism) that we've disavowed many times. How 'bout it's just Hillary Clinton and the message?"

Watch below:

By Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

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