Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said Democrats were “engaged in shameful political behavior” in opposing President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.
Partial transcript as follows:
MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS’S “FACE THE NATION”: You mentioned Mike Pompeo. As we’ve said he is a friend of yours, CIA director, wants to be secretary of state. One issue that some of the Democrats at his hearing like Senator Menendez had with his nomination is that they frankly say they don’t know which Mike Pompeo to believe. The congressman who advocated for striking Iran and North Korea and criticized the diplomatic deals there or the one who now says he wants to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran and negotiate with North Korea. Is this driven by politics or a change of conviction?
COTTON: Driven 100 percent by politics, Margaret, 15 Democrat–
BRENNAN: His change of position?
COTTON: No, the Democrats opposition to Mike Pompeo.
BRENNAN: But Mike Pompeo’s change of position–
COTTON: Mike Pompeo has not-has not changed his position. I’ve known Mike for many years we’ve traveled the world with each other. Mike is committed to diplomatic solutions everywhere. The difference Mike Pompeo and a lot of those Democrats or the previous secretaries of state is that Mike Pompeo recognizes that the credible threat of military force is essential to getting diplomatic solutions. But a lot of these Democrats–
BRENNAN: He opposed the Iran nuclear deal and he said in his testimony now he wants to preserve it.
COTTON: Opposing the Iran nuclear deal doesn’t mean that you’re opposed to diplomatic solutions. It means you’re opposed to a bad diplomatic solutions.
BRENNAN: But that was a change in position for him?
COTTON: Ultimately, it’s the president that makes that decision. Mike Pompeo will conduct foreign policy on behalf of the president, but as he said in his testimony it’s the president who will make that decision. But the Democrats especially on the Foreign Relations Committee are really engaged in shameful political behavior. Fifteen of them voted for Mike Pompeo last-last year to be the director of the CIA. Not a single one of them to my knowledge has said that he’s done a bad job in fact many of them–
BRENNAN: It’s a very different job than being America’s top diplomat and credibly negotiating which is why they get to this fundamental question.
COTTON: And as Director Pompeo said in his testimony he has committed those diplomatic solutions, but ultimately the secretary of state is conducting diplomacy on behalf of the president. Most of these Democrats don’t have a problem with Mike Pompeo. They are still struggling to get over the election of Donald Trump in 2016 or frankly they face elections this year in 2018 and they’re afraid of scaring the Move On dot org or Code Pink crowd. And it’s really shameful behavior.
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN