CNN is reporting that President Trump is calling Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) out for his opposition to Mike Pompeo. “Paul said he would vote against Pompeo shortly after his nomination was announced last month, citing Pompeo’s record supporting the Iraq War. Paul’s opposition is significant because he sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and his stance puts Pompeo on track to be the first nominee for this position to have an unfavorable recommendation out of committee since 1925, when committee decisions on secretary of state nominees began being made public.”
If Paul continues his opposition the President will need at least one Democrat to cross the aisle and vote with Pompeo. In light of the lack of bipartisanship in Congress, this is a daunting task.
Regarding Trump’s appointees, which led to the tension between Trump and the Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul released the following statement announcing his opposition to the nominations of CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be the next Secretary of State and Gina Haspel to take over as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency:
“What I liked about candidate Trump was his strong condemnation of the Iraq War. I believe President Trump has done a great job, and I continue to support him, but I cannot endorse his nomination of people who loved the Iraq War so much that they want an Iran War next. Director Pompeo has not learned the lessons of regime change and wants regime change in Iran.
“I can’t support people who never understood America First and want to manipulate the President into the sphere of the neocons who never met a war they didn’t want to star in.
“President Trump sought to break with the foreign policy mistakes of the last two administrations. Yet now he picks for Secretary of State and CIA Director people who embody them, defend them, and, I’m afraid, will repeat them. I will not support their nominations.”
In addition to Director Pompeo’s stance on foreign policy, Dr. Paul is also concerned about his previous statements supporting the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, and his support for maintaining and expanding the growing surveillance state, including calling in a 2016 Wall Street Journal op-ed for Congress to “pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database.”
Dr. Paul believes that Gina Haspel’s record on torture, including running a CIA “black site” prison in Thailand, should disqualify her from consideration for the position.