April 12, 2018

Udall Statement on Secretary of State Nominee Mike Pompeo

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after questioning President Trump’s nominee to lead the State Department, current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, at his Senate confirmation hearing today. Udall also met with Pompeo in his Capitol Hill office earlier this week. A photo is available HERE. Video of Udall’s questioning of Pompeo can be found HERE.

“The next secretary of state will have to clean up the mess that has been created by President Trump’s chaotic and dangerous foreign policy. But after our meeting earlier this week, and the hearing today, I remain very concerned that Director Pompeo will double down on the worst of President Trump’s policies. Director Pompeo confirmed my fears when he refused to answer whether he would take decisive action – like stepping down as secretary of state – in the event that President Trump sets off a constitutional crisis by firing Special Counsel Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.

“President Trump’s dangerous and erratic tweets and saber-rattling threaten to bring us closer to war and undermine our leadership on the world stage. We need a secretary of state with a steady hand who fully embraces the important role for diplomacy in our national security. In our meeting and again at today’s hearing, Director Pompeo failed to convince me that he will provide independent advice to the president on the most urgent challenges and crises facing our nation. At his hearing today, Director Pompeo confirmed the IAEA assessment that Iran is in full compliance with Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – yet, he supports continuing President Trump’s dangerous proposal to unilaterally withdrawal from the agreement and has advocated for unilateral military action in the past. Such a decision would be bad for national security and further damage U.S. credibility on the world stage, and would open a Pandora’s box of risks—including both a nuclear Iran and wider conflict in the Middle East.

“While Director Pompeo said in my office that he appreciates the importance of our trade relationship with Mexico, I don’t believe he will have the independence to fix the damage done by the president’s insults and xenophobic bluster against the Mexican and Central American people. I don’t believe he will have the tools to prevent the president from putting the U.S. on the path to economic damage from trade wars with China and our allies. And I fear that Director Pompeo has no specific plan to rebuild the morale or strengthen the workforce at a State Department that has been hollowed out by this administration.

“Prior to any committee vote, I also plan to submit further written questions for the record regarding Western Hemisphere issues including relations with Mexico, Cuba, and Colombia, along with questions regarding the need for an updated Authorization for Use of Military Force and the situation in Syria, foreign policy conflicts of interest raised by the president’s family’s overseas business ventures, and the State Department’s role in the repatriation of sacred Native American artifacts being traded overseas like the Acoma Shield, which is still awaiting its return to the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico.

“We need a secretary of state who has the will and vision to bring this administration back from the brink, so that we can meet the unprecedented challenges facing our nation and the world. Director Pompeo will validate and encourage the president’s worst and most dangerous instincts, and for that reason, I will oppose his nomination.”