Sen. Rand Paul doesn’t care for President Trump’s pick to replace Rex Tillerson at the State Department and will oppose the nomination.
Paul announced Wednesday that he will “do everything I can to block” Mike Pompeo’s nomination to be Secretary of State or Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the nation’s spy agency.
The libertarian Republican from Kentucky was the lone Republican who voted against Pompeo when Trump nominated him to head the CIA last year.
Paul, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pointed to Pompeo’s position on torture and his support for the Iraq War as the basis of his opposition.
He also openly wondered how Haspel, once in charge of a notorious CIA “black site” where suspects were waterboarded, could be considered to run the agency.
“It’s galling to read of her glee during the waterboarding,” Paul said. “It’s absolutely appalling.”
A simple Senate majority is needed to confirm either Pompeo or Haspel, but Republicans only have 51 seats at the moment.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who also raised concerns over Haspel, is currently fighting brain cancer and has not attended any recent Senate vote.
It’s unclear if Democrats will cross the aisle to support the pair.
Paul’s vow came after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he is not urging his party members to actively oppose the nominations.
“At this point, I am not,” Schumer said Tuesday.
Trump reportedly wants Pompeo and Haspel in place before a proposed May meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
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