Tags: Trump Administration | tim kaine | mike pompeo | secretary of state | white house | rex tillerson

Tim Kaine: Pompeo Nomination, WH Chaos Could Be Tragic

Tim Kaine: Pompeo Nomination, WH Chaos Could Be Tragic
(Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 14 March 2018 11:58 AM

The decision to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the quick announcement that CIA Director Mike Pompeo would be his successor adds to the chaos surrounding President Donald Trump's administration, Sen. Tim Kaine said Wednesday, and he's worried that if the upheavals continue, they could lead to tragic consequences.

"I worry it raises the risk of accidental or unnecessary war," the Virginia Democrat, who was Hillary Clinton's vice presidential nominee in 2016, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"The worry about it is first, just more chaos from an administration that wants to cut diplomacy funding, that won't send us ambassadorial nominees, that sends out crazy tweets, even about the leaders of our friendly nations, much less our adversaries," said Kaine. "This is more of just the same chaos. This is just more of the same chaos. [It] makes us less safe."

There are still strong people on the national security team, Kaine said, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, national security adviser H.R. McMaster, and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "but you hear rumors about McMaster going."

"Some of those strong people at the top, I think they try to check the president's worst impulses," said Kaine, noting that reports indicate that Tillerson tried to encourage Trump to stay in the Paris climate agreement.

"It looks like the president is increasingly not following the advice of the people who know what they're talking about, who are around him and that's a great, great worry right now," said the senator.

Monday, Kaine tweeted that while a representative, Pompeo had advocated an attack on Iran, and said it was "dangerous" for him to be nominated to head the State Department.

"I'll be on the committee that will interview him," Kaine said, when asked if that meant he wouldn't vote to confirm Pompeo. "I have grave concerns during the discussion about the Iran deal. He said he didn't want to do the deal and basically said, 'hey, look, it would take us 2,000 bombing runs to wipe out Iranian nuclear capacity, you know our allies and us could do that.' Anybody who is leaning towards military action over diplomacy, I think that raises real problems if you're being nominated to be the chief diplomat of the United States."

Pompeo, he added, will have a "lot of convincing to do" based on his on-the-record statements.

"I don't think we need more fire and fury in the secretary of state's office," Kaine said. "I think we need a diplomat."

He said he also has his doubts about the nomination of CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to head the agency, given her background that includes running a "black site" in Thailand in 2002 where extreme interrogation procedures were used, and her admission of destroying video tapes from the program.

"Her apparent involvement in destroying records and tapes about that program, I think that this really sends a bad signal to put something like that as the head of the CIA," said Kaine. "So, again, I'm going to see how she does at the hearing, but those are two really, really tough bits of history that would suggest that she's not the right person to head that agency."

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The decision to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the quick announcement that CIA Director Mike Pompeo would be his successor adds to the chaos surrounding President Donald Trump's administration, Sen. Tim Kaine said Wednesday, and he's worried that if the upheavals...
tim kaine, mike pompeo, secretary of state, white house, rex tillerson
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2018-58-14
Wednesday, 14 March 2018 11:58 AM
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