Colin Kahl, nominated for Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, described Republicans as “the party of ethnic cleansing” on Twitter. His Senate confirmation hearing is set for Thursday.
“The GOP used to pride itself as a party that put values front and center in US foreign policy,” wrote Kahl in one October 2019 tweet. “Now—as they debase themselves at the alter of Trump—they are the party of ethnic cleansing.”
The GOP used to pride itself as a party that put values front and center in US foreign policy.
Now—as they debase themselves at the alter of Trump—they are the party of ethnic cleansing. https://t.co/FNssbkxPQd
— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) October 24, 2019
This comes after former nominee Neera Tanden withdrew her nomination for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director because of her tweeting habits.
Kahl has already faced some resistance from Senate Republicans due to his staunch advocacy of the Iran nuclear deal, opposition to Iran sanctions, and his alleged involvement in removing a statement affirming Jerusalem as Israel’s capital from the 2012 Democratic Party platform.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) was the first member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to publicly oppose Kahl’s appointment on Monday, according to a report, citing severe disagreements on policy.
But other Republicans have privately voiced similar objections and are looking to plan out their next steps ahead of Kahl’s scheduled confirmation hearing.
Kahl opposed a bill in 2017 to sanction the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which carries out Iran’s global terrorism operations, arguing that the United States already could sanction individual IRGC members. The legislation was “gratuitous” and “a symbolic gesture to basically rub it in the nose of the IRGC,” he said.
He also criticized the Trump administration’s targeted strike on Iranian terror chief Qassem Soleimani last year, calling it “an overt act against perhaps the second-most-prominent official in Iran.”
“From an Iranian perspective, the assassination is the equivalent of another country taking out the director of the CIA, secretary of defense, and shadow secretary of state all rolled into one,” Kahl said, arguing that the attack was likely to prompt reprisals from Tehran.
Kahl also attacked Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee that is overseeing Kahl’s confirmation process and works with the Pentagon, claiming the senator was attempting to get hired as the Trump administration’s secretary of defense by “appealing to Trump’s inner-authoritarian.”
“Tom Cotton applies to replace Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense by appealing to Trump’s inner-authoritarian,” wrote Kahl.
Tom Cotton applies to replace Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense by appealing to Trump’s inner-authoritarian. https://t.co/3HietFSSmJ
— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) June 3, 2020
Sen. Joe Manchin (R-WV) also sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which will vote on Kahl’s nomination. His decision to oppose Tanden’s confirmation drew allegations of sexism from some fellow Democrats, who claimed he would not hold a male nominee to the same standard.