Marc Thiessen rushes to the defense of Mike Pompeo:
For the first time in the history of the republic, it appears increasingly likely that a majority of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote against the president’s nominee for secretary of state. If this happens, it would be a black mark not on Mike Pompeo’s record, but on the reputation of this once-storied committee.
If a nominee is considered to be so toxic that a majority of the relevant committee can’t bring themselves to vote for him, doesn’t that suggest that the fault for the unprecedented repudiation rests with the nominee or with the president who nominated him? Trump is trying to replace a bad Secretary of State with a worse successor, and we’re supposed to believe that the committee members are disgracing themselves by refusing to act as a rubber stamp? This complaint doesn’t pass the laugh test, and yet this is what Pompeo’s defenders are reduced to arguing.
“There is simply no excuse for this,” Thiessen whines, but there is a perfectly good reason for it: Pompeo isn’t qualified to be Secretary of State and shouldn’t be confirmed solely because of that. Thiessen asserts that “no one questions that he is extraordinarily qualified for the job,” but in fact lots of people explicitly deny that he is. They question his judgment, question his record, and have no confidence that he knows how to conduct diplomacy. It’s simply not true that no one questions Pompeo’s readiness for this position. That is the main complaint against him.
Pompeo served in Congress for a few terms, and he ran the CIA (badly) for a year. In all that time, he showed no aptitude for or interest in diplomacy or the compromise that it requires. He has developed a reputation as a hard-liner, and in tandem with Bolton he would make Trump’s foreign policy even more dangerous than it already is. Pompeo was nominated first and foremost because he knew how to cultivate the president and successfully gained his confidence. That isn’t nothing, but it isn’t a reason to confirm him to be Secretary of State.
Pompeo may be confirmed by the narrowest majority of all time, or maybe he won’t be, but the people opposed to the nomination have nothing to be ashamed of and every reason to fight it until the end.