Sen. Rand Paul has agreed to meet with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State.
The president publicly applied pressure on Paul after it became clear he would need the Kentucky Senator’s support to confirm his nominee in the Senate.
“Rand Paul is a very special guy, as far as I’m concerned. He’s never let me down,” Trump said. “And I don’t think he’ll let us down again. So let’s see what happens.”
Paul, who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, has publicly opposed Pompeo’s nomination, citing his defense of the Iraq war and hawkish view on foreign policy with Iran.
Paul confirmed to reporters that he would meet with Pompeo on Thursday after receiving a call from Trump.
Meanwhile, the White House is working behind the scenes to break Democrat opposition to Pompeo, particularly in the Foreign Relations Committee.
As Sen. John McCain remains absent from the Senate as he battles brain cancer, the close votes are even closer and Republicans can not afford any dissent.
Sen. Tom Cotton criticized Paul for opposing Pompeo’s nomination.
“Sen. Paul has unusual foreign policy views that are not representative of the Republican Senate Caucus,” he said in a call with reporters on Thursday.
Secretary of State nominations traditionally pass with wide bi-partisan approval. Despite many of them supporting Pompeo’s confirmation for CIA Director, many are more reluctant to support his leadership of the State Department. If the Senate Foreign Realtions Committee fails to endorse Pompeo, he could still pass a confirmation vote in the full Senate.
Cotton predicted that red-state Democrats facing tough re-election fights may support Pompeo’s confirmation.
“I am not concerned Mike Pompeo will be confirmed as secretary of state next week,” he said to reporters.