Scott Rigell: It’s Clear Russia Influenced Our Election

Outgoing Republican is concerned about Trump, Tillerson and Russian influence

Retiring Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., was the first member of Congress to back Libertarian candidate for president Gary Johnson. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Retiring Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell, who made waves when he broke with the Republican Party over Donald Trump’s presidential nomination, said the president-elect's choice of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State is “deeply flawed.”

In addition to his worries about Tillerson’s lack of diplomatic experience, Rigell told Hampton Roads TV station WAVY he is concerned about the Exxon Mobil CEO’s close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the role Russia may have played in the U.S. presidential election.

“It is clear to some degree they influenced our election,” Rigell said.

Additionally, Rigell hopes Trump takes seriously the implications of the hack, and heeds the intelligence agencies call for further investigation.

“I think it would actually heighten his presidency if he would lead and advance the cause of exactly what happened,” Rigell added. 

Rigell, who represents Virginia's 2nd District, was an outspoken opponent of Trump’s candidacy, and eventually endorsed Libertarian Gary Johnson over his party’s nominee.

At one point, Rigell called the real estate mogul “a bully unworthy of our nomination,” and asserted that a Trump presidency would be “reckless, embarrassing and ultimately dangerous.”

Months later, Rigell’s opinion hasn’t changed.

“I have always said there is not one character trait in him that I would want my son to emulate. Not one," Rigell told WAVY. 

Though the Virginia native agrees with Trump’s promise to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and has said he hopes Trump can bring the country together, he’s not optimistic. 

“I think Donald Trump has deeply divided our country, and I cannot see him bringing us together,” Rigell said. “Do I hope that happens? Yes, I do because I am an American first, but for him to say, ‘We are going to make Mexico pay for it’ is a bizarre statement."

Rigell decided not to seek a fourth term in January, and will be replaced by Republican Scott Taylor.

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