Mike Pompeo’s nomination to become secretary of state has fallen into a state of flux after the loss of support in a Senate committee in the wake of President Donald Trump’s Syria strike.
The current CIA director was nominated to become the US’ top diplomat after the firing of Rex Tillerson, but he may be blocked by those who previously voted for him, nydailynews.com reported.
Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said on Sunday that he would not support Pompeo in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and claimed that he had an “anti-diplomacy” streak, meaning his process could stall.
“We have a president who is anti-diplomacy and I worry that Mike Pompeo has shown the same tendency to oppose diplomacy,” Kaine said on “Face the Nation.”
The announcement came after the Trump administration fired rockets at Syrian government targets, an action Kaine opposed because there has been no congressional approval for US military action in the war-torn country.
Democrats had slammed Trump for launching airstrikes on Syria without congressional approval. The Friday strike was in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on April 7. The strike was a joint effort between the United States, France and Britain.
Supporters say the attacks are covered by the Authorization for Use of Military Force against terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, passed 17 years ago in the aftermath of 9/11.
Kaine had previously supported the nomination of Pompeo, seen as close to Trump, to be CIA chief. His opposition came as the nominee has also faced scrutiny for the position, which is fourth in line to the presidency.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul slammed him for support of the Iraq war and statements saying that the US should bomb Iran.
That leaves Pompeo short of the number of votes he needs for recommendation through the Foreign Relations Committee. New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who voted for him as CIA director, has also voiced concerns about moving him to the State Department.
Others among the 14 Democratic senators who voted yes for Pompeo before have also said they will vote against him this time around, with Paul’s opposition and the medical absence of Senator John McCain leaving a floor vote in doubt.
Beyond a general reputation as a hawk and concerns about the direction of US foreign policy after John Bolton became national security adviser, Pompeo was grilled on issues such as his ties to anti-Muslim figures.