Pompeo Confirmation and What’s at Stake at the State Department

Mike Pompeo’s confirmation to take over the State Department may not be until next week, but for some, the battle is already well underway. Pompeo, who’s spent the last 14 months as head of the CIA, will need every bit of his Army training to survive a fight that’s turning nastier by the day. And based on his bipartisan backing in 2017, no one is quite sure why.

When Pompeo grabbed the reins at the CIA, everyone thought he was an excellent choice. Senate Democrats, who haven’t exactly been the picture of cooperation on Trump’s hires, helped send the former Kansas representative to his new office. Fifteen voted yes on his confirmation, including some not-so-moderate fixtures like Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.). What’s changed? Not much, unless you count a stellar first year at the helm of America’s intelligence.

Still, the hearing is shaping up to be a heavyweight tilt, with Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) siding with liberals to bring the Kansan down. His stubborn crusade against Pompeo has been one of the biggest surprises of Trump’s first term — including his “no” vote on the CIA post. “I want to support the President Trump I supported during the campaign,” he told Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade this morning. “So I think someone needs to speak out against having too many of these neoconservatives in the administration.” Equal to the challenge, Kilmeade surprised Paul by firing back, “So you know President Trump’s vision better than he does? You know what he wants better than he does?” Paul couldn’t give a good answer.

If there is GOP opposition to Pompeo’s nomination, Paul may be the extent of it. This week, 93 leaders of the conservative movement showed their appreciation for the Kansan’s record, dating back to his days in Congress. In a memo to the movement, they rattled off a number of reasons why Mike would be a huge asset to America’s cause.

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Pompeo… reflects strong principles that will serve President Trump’s agenda in key areas. He will bring a necessary and critical eye to the ongoing discussions surrounding the Iran nuclear deal. Pompeo is already influencing the ongoing negotiations with North Korea, where reports indicate he is holding a firm line against U.S. concessions that do not achieve a direct result. He has also promoted an assertive policy against Russia efforts to undermine Western Democracies.

The coalition, which includes FRC, couldn’t be happier to have a true conservative in the role after Rex Tillerson’s roller coaster year. Unlike Tillerson, voters never have to question Mike’s commitment to core American values. “Mike Pompeo’s career also shows a regard for the sanctity of life, the solidarity of the family, and the solemnity of marriage,” the Conservative Action Project (CAP) insisted. “These principles will be key in rebuilding a State Department that, under President Obama, actively pushed a radical social policy around the world. His belief in religious freedom as a foreign policy priority is equally important in directing the State Department’s efforts to protect the freedom of all people.”

As we’ve said since his nomination, there’s no better advocate for the persecuted church than Pompeo, who would be the perfect complement to Ambassador Sam Brownback’s global religious liberty efforts. After eight years of watching Obama drag our country’s reputation through the mud, it’s time for Trump to make American diplomacy great again. And Mike Pompeo is the best man for the job.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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