Opposition Could Stop Mike Pompeo Secretary of State Nomination
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Mike Pompeo’s nomination to become Secretary of State has fallen into a state of flux after the loss of support in a Senate committee in the wake of President Trump’s Syria strike.
The current CIA director was nominated to become the nation’s top diplomat after the firing of Rex Tillerson, but he may be blocked by those who previously voted for him, New York Daily News reported.
Virginia Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine said Sunday that he would not support Pompeo in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and claimed that he had an “anti-diplomacy” streak, meaning his process could stall.
“We have a President who is anti-diplomacy and I worry that Mike Pompeo has shown the same tendency to oppose diplomacy,” Kaine said on “Face the Nation.”
The announcement comes after the Trump administration fired rockets at Syrian government targets, an action Kaine opposed because there has been no congressional approval for US military action in the war-torn country.
Supporters say the attacks are covered by the Authorization for Use of Military Force against terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, passed 17 years ago in the aftermath of 9/11.
Kaine had previously supported the nomination of Pompeo, seen as close to Trump, to be CIA chief. His opposition comes as the nominee has also faced scrutiny for the position, which is fourth in line to the presidency.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul slammed him for support of the Iraq War and statements saying that the US should bomb Iran.
That leaves Pompeo short of the number of votes he needs for recommendation through the Foreign Relations Committee. New Hampshire Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who voted for him as CIA director, has also voiced concerns about moving him to State.
Others among the 14 Democratic senators who voted yes for Pompeo before have also said they will vote against him this time around, with Paul’s opposition and the medical absence of Sen. John McCain leaving a floor vote in doubt.
Beyond a general reputation as a hawk and concerns about the direction of US foreign policy after John Bolton became National Security Adviser, Pompeo was grilled on issues such as his ties to anti-Muslim figures.
Pompeo appeared frequently on the show of Frank Gaffney Jr., who has promoted the idea that Barack Obama is a clandestine Muslim and warns of Sharia law taking over the US.
The CIA director, who would be head of US dealings with Muslim countries as well as countries with anti-gay laws, was also questioned about his opposition to gay marriage and calling gay sex a “perversion,” though he said at his hearing that he believes in treating everyone equally.