Never in its 202-year history had the Senate Foreign Relations Committee given a public thumbs-down to a presidential nominee for secretary of state.
Until a few minutes before the panel met late Monday afternoon, it looked like CIA Director Mike Pompeo would carry that unprecedented blemish to the Senate floor later this week as he bids to replace Rex Tillerson atop the State Department. But just as the committee was gathering to consider President Trump’s pick, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky renounced his early opposition to Pompeo and gave him a decisive vote of support. Citing Pompeo’s hawkish views and his support for the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Paul had previously indicated he would side with the panel’s 10 Democrats in opposition, denying him the majority needed for a favorable recommendation.
In a series of tweets, Paul said he had spoken repeatedly both with Trump and Pompeo on Monday afternoon. “President Trump believes that Iraq was a mistake, that regime change has destabilized the region, and that we must end our involvement with Afghanistan,” he wrote. “Having received assurances from President Trump and Director Pompeo that he agrees with the President on these important issues, I have decided to support his nomination to be our next Secretary of State.”
Paul elaborated on his thinking at the meeting before the vote. “I have not been given anything or promised anything,” he said, though he added that Trump had agreed to a discussion on his libertarian views on government surveillance. “I have changed my mind,” Paul said. “I decided to go ahead and vote for Director Pompeo because he assured me has learned the lesson and time will tell those assurances are true.”
Paul, who has aligned himself with Trump’s “America First” rhetoric, had criticized Pompeo’s as out of step with the …read more
Source:: The Atlantic – Politics