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Exclusive–Sen. John McCain: New Presidents Deserve to Build Their Own Team

The senior senator from Arizona and the 2008 Republican nominee for president told Breitbart News Thursday he and other Republicans support confirming President Donald J. Trump’s cabinet nominees because a new president has the right to select individuals he wants running his administration.

“We really believe that a brand new president, whether we supported him or not, should have the benefit of naming his team,” said Sen. John S. McCain III (R.-Ariz.), who is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“I voted for a whole lot of Obama’s nominees, not because I liked them,” he said. “But elections are about the American people’s view, and the American people, when they elect a president also believe that he should have a team around him–I think that more than anything else–that is why it is a little surprising that the Democrats are being as hard-over as they are.” None of President Barack Obama’s nominees lost a confirmation vote in the Senate.

McCain said he did not suffer from supporting Obama nominees politically because voters in his state understand that he votes in his own “maverick” way.

“People know John McCain, they know I do my own thing,” he said.

The senator said with two GOP senators pledged to vote against confirming Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, that nomination is in trouble, but his attention has been directed at the president’s national security team.

Senators voted Friday to bring the nomination of DeVos, a champion of education reform and charter schools, to the floor with two procedural votes along party lines. The two Republicans opposing DeVos, Maine’s Sen. Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, announced Wednesday that they will be joining Democrats in voting against confirmation. Despite their opposition to DeVos, it is typical for senators to vote with their parties on procedural matters.

The Republicans hold a 52-to-48 majority in the upper chamber and in the event of a 50-50 tie, Vice President Michael R. Pence would be called upon to break the tie and secure DeVos’ confirmation.

With such a tight margin, Senate Republicans have delayed the confirmation vote for Sen. Jeff B. Sessions III (R.-Ala.) as Attorney General, not because Sessions is in trouble, but rather because the GOP needs the Alabama senator’s vote.

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