Merkley Decries Senate Confirmation of Pompeo

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement after the Senate voted to confirm CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State:

“The Senate’s confirmation of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State is a huge mistake for our nation.

“Mike Pompeo is the wrong person to serve as our nation’s top diplomat for multiple reasons.

“First, conflicts of interest. We can’t solve the climate challenge without global cooperation, and the Secretary of State is the top climate negotiator for the United States on the world stage. But Mike Pompeo is deeply embedded with the Koch Brothers and the fossil fuel industry. This makes him a completely inappropriate and conflicted choice to lead this key mission.

“Second, in his hearing, Mike Pompeo showed a complete lack of respect for the rule of the law. I read him the two provisions of the War Powers Act that give the president the power to put our troops in motion on foreign soil. One of those is a direct and explicit congressional authorization. The second is a national emergency created by an attack on the United States, our territories or possessions, or our armed forces. I asked him if he thinks the President of the United States can launch a war outside of those two provisions, and he replied, ‘I do.’ Effectively, he said our constitution doesn’t matter when it comes to war.

“Finally, Mike Pompeo has shown repeatedly through his words and actions that he is unfit for diplomacy. As Secretary of State, he’s supposed to represent our human rights values on the world stage – but he’s shown hostility towards the Muslim and LGBTQ communities. As our nation’s top diplomat, he is supposed to find diplomatic rather than military solutions to our international challenges – but he’s repeatedly advocated for abandoning the Iran deal, and suggested that bombing Iran would be a better strategy instead.

“Today, the Senate made the ill-advised and dangerous choice to add another member to Trump’s War Cabinet.”