tv U.S. Senate Sens. Wicker Schumer on Mike Pomeo Nomination CSPAN April 26, 2018 8:00am-8:18am EDT
they continue consideration of current cia director mike pompeo to be the next secretary of state. next, a portion of the debate on mr. pompeo's nomination. >> madam president, i rise in strong support of the nomination of mike pompeo, our current cia director, to be the next secretary of state. and i must say i've watched with interest the proceedings the day before yesterday in the foreign relations committee, the debate was interesting on both sides. and ico appreciate the fact that accommodations were made so that mike pompeo's nomination could be presented to the full senate with a positive vote. i am disappointed that so many of my democratic colleagues has stated that they will oppose this nomination, and i heed the
admonition of one of the members of the democratic party at the confirmation vote before the committee. when this member asked that senators not question the motives of anyone who takes a position one way or the other with regard to the nomination of mr. pompeo. and so i will heed that admonition, madam president, and not question the motivation of any senator who votes either yes or no on this nomination. i will simply observe this. mike pompeo is a highly qualified nominee, a distinguished former member of the house of representatives. he served with accomplishment and great dignity and ability as director of the cia.
he graduated first in his class from the united states military academy at west point, and went on to serve, to graduate with distinction at the harvard law school and served as editor in chief of the harvard law review. so this is a man of great intellect, a man of great ability and great accomplishment. without impugning the motives of anyone who would vote no, i simply observe ill be voting against highly accomplished and qualified nominee. when the shoe was on the other foot during the obama administration, i along with members, overwhelming, almost unanimous majority of members of my caucus voted yes in favor of theti confirmation of hillary clinton to be secretary of state. i voted just a long begin with a
virtually unanimous vote on both side of the aisle for the nomination of our colleague john kerry to be the successor to hillary clinton as secretary sf state. and i would simply note to my doubting friends who are standing on the rights on the other side of the aisle that the overwhelming weight of public opinion from the news media has idcome down on the side of mr. pompeo. the "wall street journal" headline says that we need a secretary of state andmp that me pompeo should be confirmed. the "chicago tribune" in an editorial states why the senate should confirm mike pompeo.
the "washington post" headline on the editorial page proclaims confirm mike pompeo. the "new york daily news" s says confirm mike pompeo. president trump needs a secretary of state and i would add, madam president, that this country needs a secretary of state. because of international diplomacy needs a secretary of state. because of human rights around the world needs a secretary of state. "usa today" says confirm mike pompeo to fill the void and state. so i will not question the motives of any of my colleagues. my friends whom i respect. i will only say that things are surely different around the united states senate nowadays than they were previously when we rose up almost unanimously
and confirm john kerry and hillary clinton, and stood for the proposition that the president of the united states is entitled to his or her teen, and that that person need strong support. i will only say at a moment when our country needs to send a strong message of resolve to our allies, and to the entire international community, we need to send a strong signal of unity that the vote we may take later this week in confirming mike pompeo might send the signal of excessive partisanship and division, and i regret that. we are going to have a great secretary of state at the end of this process, and i think he will, i think this unfortunate, unfortunately narrow vote will
come and go, and perhaps not be the standard that we operate under in future w times. i would only say that for those colleagues who are still looking for an answer and still wrestling with how they should vote, i would come into them the example of previous days an example of sending a strong signal around the globe that this president is supported in his efforts in international diplomacy, and that he's entitled toea the team that he s chosen. and with that, madam president, i urge my colleagues to vote yes, and i appreciate the distinguished minority leader for indulging me and allowing me to go forward. i yield the floor.
>> now, madam president, the senate is considering the nomination of mike pompeo to be the next secretary of state. i must admit that even after his confirmation to the directorship of the cia, a remained concerned about mr. pompeo when he was in the congress. i talk to them directly. i told him how deeply, how disappointed i was and how he handled the benghazi hearings, how partisan they were. i told in some of his comments about my minority groups, muslims in particular, were way over the top. over the course of his tenure at langley i met with him several times after that first meeting where i had given him my views on some of the things i disagreed with him, what he did. and i have to sit the meetings were good meetings. he was very candid with me. he is obviously very smart. he's obviously well-informed about foreign policy, far more
well-informed than secretary tillerson's was when he came before, when you came to visit me before his nomination. and what particularly gave me some good feeling was that mr. pompeo was particularly strong on rusher sanctions. even join some separation from the president as we met. so i begin to think that mr. pompeo was better than my first impression, which has so been guided particularly by his performance, he is very poor performance in the benghazi hearings. then he was nominated for secretary of state. now, that's a wholent different ballgame, anyone nominee for such a critical position, secured a position, deserves the most careful and thoughtful scrutiny. with that in mind i met with mr. pompeo privately where i interviewed him on foreign
policy. frankly on many issues are views were not the same. he was far more hawkish than i prefer our diplomat to be. frankly, my views are probably on this issue were a little closer to the presidents who, remembered as i do, that iraq, in iraq we spent over a trillion dollars. we lost close to 5000 of our bravest young men and women, and iraq doesn't seem muchs better off today than it was then. so my view was that he was too quick to recommend strong and, strong military action when diplomacy might do. but at the same time i believe that the president should get to pick his team. so president trump wanted a more hawkish secretary of state, it would be concerning to me but it is his position. and mr. pompeo answered my questions with the same candor and forthrightness as our
previous meetings. so i thought i wouldd wait for his hearing, because speaking in public is different than speaking privately to a member of the senate before making the decision. mr. pompeo's hearing, i became very disappointed. first, the president as shown in word and deed that he often directs for policy by impulse, erratically, inconsistently. the fact that we will continue with several hotspots in the world, north korea, iran, syria, yemen, venezuela and russia, means we need someone at the state department not only prizes the valueee of diplomacy but is willing to check the presidents worst instincts. unfortunately, this to pompeo's testimony and, of course, public testimony is the real test, it did little to convince me that he would be a strong tempering influence on it often erratic president. he didn't convince me he would
be the kind of secretary most of us believe secretary mattis is, who is able successfully to check the president when the president might go off base. but disappointing was mr. pompeo's tepid responses to questions about his commitment to bedrock principles like rule of law. as important and difficult as our foreign-policy decisions are, the nation is facing a great test. the president seems to tempt rule of law in america when it comes to the investigation of whether there was collusion between his administration, his campaign and russia. and an investigation to look into this, to look into russian interference in our elections and whether it was participation of the president and members of his campaign or administration is vital to the bedrock of america. even worse is if a president
says i can undo this investigation one way or another. i can afford it. he's already trying to intimidated but fortunately mr. mueller is not the type who's intimidated and neither does mr. and these questions were crucial to me. and the key position like secretary of state should be able to speak out on this kind of issue. because america is recognized throughout the world as the country that most prizes were off-topic so far secretary doesn't speak a song against this. it's not like bad for our country but not good for his job. his ability to do his job around the world. unfortunately, i was deeply disappointed. mr.po pompeo responded when puto the question is whether he would stand up to the president, but he resign or otherwise protest
the president actions that would of law?e the rule his answers were weak. he did not say he would resign if the president fired molar or rosenstein. to me, i cabinet officer should do that. he did not even unequivocally state that he would publicly urge the president not to fire mr. mueller. so that wasn't good enough. but i thought i owed again mr. pompeo a direct discussion, because he is a talented man, and the president does deserve the benefit of the doubt. so i called him into the office for one private meeting, one final meeting. i asked him pointedly whether you would be able to simply say publicly that the president shouldn't fire special counsel mueller before we voted on him.
i asked him what he would do if the president fired his special counsel, mr. rosenstein's. his answers were extremely insufficient. i also asked him if would be willing to recant or undo some of what he said about muslims and indian americans, lgbtq americans and women's rights. now that he was in line to be our secretary of state and had to deal with countries that might be affected by his remarks. again, he demurred. so when he left that meeting, i emerged with a clear conscience. that a vote against mr. pompeo's nomination was the right thing to do. i still believe a president deserves his team, and that disagreements on policy alone are not a sufficient reason to reject a nomination. but i give mr. pompeo, but buti gave mr. pompeo the benefit of the doubtes and three chances to answer the questions that i thought were extremely
important, and assuage my broader concerns about his nomination. he s did not answer those questions in any way that was satisfying. so with a clear conscience i will be voting against his nomination. let me be clear. this is not about politics. this is not about denying the president his team just for the sake of it. it's about the role of congress, and, frankly, the cabinet, to provide a check on the senate. sorry. this is a role about congress but also the cabinet to provide a check on a president who might go off the rails and undo the respect for rule of law, the tradition for rule of law that we've had in this country for so long. it is my view that the next
secretary of state in this unique moment of history with the president who seems to behave erratically and with little regard oftentimes for our nation's history, a president who tests our constitutional order, that secretary must be willing to put country first and stand up for our most sacred and fundamental sacred values, for the rule of law, through the idea that no person, not even the president, is above the rule ofn law. unfortunately, mr. pompeo indies very difficult in troubled times did not meet that task as much as i wish he did. i t don't doubt that the presidt could nominate someone with the right experience, the right values and the right commitment to our core national principles to earn my vote to be secretary of state, but i do not believe mr. pompeo has those qualities