Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) voted against the confirmation of Gina Haspel as director of the CIA on Thursday.
Haspel was confirmed by a 54-45 margin, with four Democrats–Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)–up for re-election in states President Trump won in 2016 voting to confirm and six Democrats up for re-election in states Trump won, including Missouri’s McCaskill, voting “no.”
McCaskill’s “no” vote on Haspel added to the long list of votes she has cast against the Trump agenda since the president was inaugurated in January 2017. The most notable of those other “no” votes included “no” on the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and “no” on President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which the president signed into law in December.
Missouri State Attorney General Josh Hawley, McCaskill’s likely Republican opponent in the November general election, quickly attacked.
“Sen. McCaskill came out of the shadows & proved yet again she is a hard partisan who only cares about obstructing the Trump agenda by voting against Gina Haspel,” Hawley tweeted on Thursday afternoon.
“She voted the way Schumer & her liberal donors wanted. It’s clear she’s not answering to the people of MO,” he continued:
Sen. McCaskill came out of the shadows & proved yet again she is a hard partisan who only cares about obstructing the Trump agenda by voting against Gina Haspel. She voted the way Schumer & her liberal donors wanted. It’s clear she’s not answering to the people of MO. #MOSen
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) May 17, 2018
St. Louis Today offered these additional details on Hawley’s response:
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, the leading contender for GOP Senate nomination, said McCaskill “put party over Missouri” and “voted the way (Democratic Senate leader) Chuck Schumer and her liberal donors wanted.”
Hawley said McCaskill “was willing to deny a 33-year veteran of the CIA, who has strong bipartisan support, the opportunity to become the first female director of the agency — all because she opposes President Trump.”
McCaskill cited Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) opposition to Haspel’s nomination as one reason for her “no” vote.
“Given the nature of the CIA’s work, the agency receives little oversight. I need to have confidence that the person running it has the instincts and judgment to make decisions in line with our country’s moral compass,” McCaskill said in a statement reported by the Kansas City Star.
I agree with many in the military and my friend and colleague Senator John McCain — the only United States senator who understands torture in a way I hope no American will experience ever again — that the CIA needs a leader who is willing to take a stand when the policies don’t reflect our values. While I respect Ms. Haspel’s service and sacrifice, after meeting with her and reviewing classified documents, I do not think she is that person.
Hawley’s campaign for the Republican nomination has been complicated by the ongoing allegations against Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, and his response to those allegations in his official capacity as attorney general of Missouri.
The latest Real Clear Politics Average of Polls shows a potential general election match-up in November between McCaskill and Hawley is a statistical tie.