Rubio, speaking for the Cold Warrior troika of himself, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham during Tillerson's confirmation hearing, aggressively questioned and confronted Tillerson before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Tillerson is expected to be confirmed when the full Senate votes on his nomination. Rubio bridled at Tillerson's refusal to label Russian President Vladimir Putin a "war criminal" or condemn human rights violations in Saudi Arabia and the Philippines in strong enough terms.
Joining the rank of an engineer in Exxon Mobil more than 40 years ago, Tillerson, 64, spent several years as a globetrotter running the company's extensive global operations. "Rubio is aware that the backlash from the new White House would be intense, according to those close to him".
Now that Manchin is on board after this Breitbart News exclusive, it is likely other red state Democrats up for reelection in 2018 will follow his lead and support Tillerson-giving the oil executive a little room for error inside the GOP when he didn't have such room before Rubio dropped his opposition.
Mr Rubio, whom Mr Trump defeated for the GOP presidential nomination previous year, clashed with Mr Tillerson at a committee hearing earlier this month.
Tillerson is also the first big test of how Rubio plans to deal with Trump, with whom he clashed in the campaign. The most risible part of his statement was its last sentence: "However, upcoming appointments to critical posts in the Department of State are not entitled to and will not receive from me the same level of deference I have given this nomination". Rubio's questioning was pointed, and he focused in particular on Tillerson's views of Russian Federation.
Monday's committee vote on Tillerson came amid a push by Republicans to swiftly confirm Trump's nominees.
He added: "I believe Mr Tillerson's demonstrated business orientation. could compromise his ability as secretary of state to forcefully promote the values and ideals that have defined our country and our leading role in the world for more than 200 years".
The Senate planned to spend up to six hours Monday debating the nomination of Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to head the Central Intelligence Agency before voting on him Monday night. As of last week, it didn't appear to being fazing him.
The Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on South Carolina Gov, Nikki Haley (R), Trump's nominee for ambassador the United Nations.