Senator Rand Paul opposes president's picks to lead State Department, CIA

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is a “no” vote on the president’s pick for the next Secretary of State. The president announced Tuesday he wants Mike Pompeo to lead the State Department after firing current Secretary Rex Tillerson. Senator Paul says he finds Pompeo to be a poor choice for our nation’s top diplomat.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) says he hopes his colleagues on Capitol Hill reject both picks from the president.

“I will oppose both Pompeo’s nomination and Haspel’s nomination,” said Paul.

Gina Haspel is the president’s pick to fill in for Pompeo as Director of the CIA. Paul says Haspel’s previous role in a CIA torture program in Thailand should disqualify her for the post. He says Pompeo has been an advocate for regime change in Iraq and Iran, a trait he deems ill fitting for the nation’s top diplomat.

“Do you think we can have discussions with other countries if we’re advocating for regime change? At least somebody needs to be advocating for diplomacy,” said Paul.

Pompeo and Haspel need Senate confirmation to fill the posts. Paul, a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee says he hopes his colleagues will join him in rejecting the nominations.

“I’m going to do everything I can to block them,” said Paul.

Others in the Kentucky delegation feel differently. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is calling for a swift confirmation process for both picks. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) says Pompeo is the right man to lead the State Department at this time.

“He’s very smart. He’s very articulate. He’s motivated,” said Rogers.

Rogers worked alongside Pompeo in the House when Pompeo represented the Fourth District of Kansas. Rogers says he was an adept alliance-maker in the House. He thinks he’s equipped for the world stage.

“He will extend America’s reach quickly, efficiently, powerfully. I think he’ll be well received by the world’s leaders,” said Pompeo.

As of now there is no known timeline for the confirmation process for Pompeo or Haspel.