The former chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil, Rex Tillerson, has been confirmed by the US Senate to become Trump's secretary of state. The Texas native was cleared for full Senate approval in a 56-43 vote, which came after Senate Republicans changed the rules to approve Trump's nominees for health and treasury, in spite of a Democratic boycott. Tillerson will be the top US diplomat in the Trump cabinet.

Mr Tillerson, who has never held political power, faced intense scrutiny over his links to Russia according to the BBC. He forged multibillion-dollar deals with Rosneft, Russia's state oil company, and was awarded the Order of Friendship by Moscow in 2013.

He accepted that the West had reason to be worried by Russian aggression, but he refused to label Mr Putin a war criminal. Rex Tillerson will handle relations with countries such as China and Russia and negotiate matters that include climate change and human rights.

Tillerson will deal with the immigration ban and international relations

One of Tillerson's first challenges may be allaying fears at the State Department over Trump's order to ban immigration or travel from seven mostly Muslim nations. Nearly 1,000 US diplomats and Foreign Service officers signed a memo of dissent regarding the travel ban. 

Tillerson's confirmation was very contentious according to the IndependentThe Senate confirmed President Obama's selections John Kerry 94-3 and Hillary Clinton 94-2. President Bush's secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, was confirmed 85-13 while Colin Powell was approved by a voice vote.

Tillerson will have to restore relations with those affected countries and outraged leaders. British Prime Minister Theresa May opposed the ban on Monday. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is also infuriated, he cancelled his Washington trip over Trump's insistence that Mexico would pay for a wall along the US border.