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Pompeo set for rocky confirmation process

Democrats say they oppose Pompeo’s appointment because they are not convinced he would be able to give Trump his honest opinion, and will tend to do his bidding.

world Updated: Apr 23, 2018 23:33 IST
Yashwant Raj
File photo of Mike Pompeo.
File photo of Mike Pompeo.(AP)

US secretary of state-designate Mike Pompeo is set for an unusually rocky confirmation process, with Democrats joined by at least one Republican senator determined in their opposition to him.

The Senate foreign relations committee was scheduled to vote on his confirmation on Monday and was likely to move it on to the Senate floor without a favourable recommendation. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell can still bring it up for a vote on the floor of the Republican-dominated chamber, where Pompeo is sure to be approved. But the process is likely to be tight.

“Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State... They are maxing out the time on approval process for all, never happened before. Need more Republicans!” Trump complained on Twitter on Monday.

In a more aggressive appeal, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “Democrats have to decide whether they love this country more than they hate this president.”

However, Democrats say they oppose Pompeo’s appointment because they are not convinced he would be able to give Trump his honest opinion or that of his department, and will tend to agree with him and do his bidding. They also oppose him for his remarks against Muslims and the LGBTQ community.

“After meeting with Mr. Pompeo and reviewing his testimony, I do not believe he would be an independent voice in advising @POTUS, nor an advocate for leading our allies in support of the values that protect America. I will not be supporting his nomination to be Secretary of State,” Ben Cardin, the topmost Democrat on the Senate foreign committee, tweeted.

Rand Paul, the Republican senator opposing Pompeo, has cited the latter’s support of the 2003 Iraq war and stance on torture.

New Delhi is watching the process closely as the confirmation will determine the timing for the first 2+2 dialogue between India and US’s foreign and defence ministers. The meet was supposed to take place in April but was postponed because Pompeo would not have been confirmed by then.

Previous secretaries of state-designates have had an easier confirmation — for instance Colin Powell, nominated by former president George W Bush, was confirmed unanimously.