Much of the opposition to Mike Pompeo as secretary of state is political, Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana told CNN on Monday.
"I have yet to hear any reason put forward that I find holds a whole lot of weight that can explain a vote for him for director of central intelligence and a forthcoming vote against him related to secretary of state," said Young, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Young was referring to the fact that Pompeo received some Democratic support for his nomination as CIA director last year.
The committee is set to vote later on Monday on whether Pompeo's nomination as secretary of state can move forward. That approval is very much up in the air as Republican Sen. Rand Paul has joined all the Democrats on the committee in saying that they will vote against him, according to New York Magazine.
However, Senate rules will still allow his nomination to advance to the floor in any case. And Pompeo has no known opposition among other GOP senators, while some moderate Democrats in the Senate have said they will vote for him.
Stressing that "there shouldn't be a tinge of politics associated with our national security," Young told CNN that Pompeo is "incredibly intelligent, finishing first in his class at West Point.
"He's proven himself not just in the House of Representatives as a subject matter expert in this area, but he's earned the confidence and the support of the president of the United States… [and] earned the respect of foreign leaders, friend and foe alike, because he's had to deal with them."
Young said that he could respect a decision to vote against Pompeo due to a genuine differing approach on foreign policy, but to have "nearly across-the-board Democratic opposition strikes me as unfortunate and unprecedented, especially when [Democrats] John Kerry and Hillary Clinton both received 90 votes roughly" in their Senate confirmation during the Obama administration.
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