When he’s not taking questions about being assaulted by his neighbor or touting nonsensical conspiracy theories about the FBI, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) is usually cutting his own political path. His distaste for all things President Trump is well-established and the junior senator from Kentucky made sure to highlight that fact on Wednesday when he announced his opposition to the recent nominations of Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel to head the State Department and the CIA, respectively. Both were announced by the White House on Tuesday following Trump’s decision to sack State Secretary Rex Tillerson.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Paul told reporters of his position on Wednesday, saying Pompeo had not learned the right lesson from the Iraq War (“regime change has unintended consequences”) in regards to the administration’s official position on Iran. As for Haspel, whose role in the torture of suspected terrorists in the wake of the September 11th attacks has soured her appointment to many, Paul insisted he remained supportive of Trump but could not endorse “the head cheerleader for waterboarding.”
So what does Paul’s apparent party defection mean for Pompeo and Haspel’s upcoming Senate confirmation hearings and votes? The WSJ notes that Pompeo “is likely to have more bipartisan support” as his current post as the CIA’s director was approved by a vote of 66 to 32 (with a minimum of 60 being needed to pass muster). Haspel, however, is another story altogether. The GOP currently maintains a 51 to 49 advantage in the Senate, but with Paul’s opposition and the possibility of an absent Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) due to complications from his brain cancer treatment, she may require support from Democrats.
(Via Wall Street Journal)