Rand Paul: People 'eager for war' shouldn't be running State Department

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report — Emergency declaration to test GOP loyalty to Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The 10 GOP senators who may break with Trump on emergency MORE (R-Ky.) on Sunday vowed to do “whatever it takes” to block President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE’s picks for secretary of State and CIA director.

“I don’t think you really want people who are eager for war to be running the State Department. You want a diplomat,” Paul said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” explaining why he opposes the nomination of Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump selects Kelly Craft for United Nations ambassador Father of Alabama woman who joined ISIS sues Trump administration Russia extends detention of US citizen accused of spying: report MORE

“I frankly think that Pompeo’s positions are too much of an advocate for regime change, really everywhere,” he said. “I don’t think our policy ought to be for regime change, so I think Pompeo really isn’t a good fit to be a diplomat,” he added.

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Trump last week fired Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonHeather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job Trump administration’s top European diplomat to resign in February Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation MORE, and announced he'd seek to replace him with Pompeo, who is the current CIA director. He then said he would nominate CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo.

Paul has said he will oppose both nominations. In Haspel's case, Paul opposes her appointment due to her involvement in the enhanced interrogation program during the George W. Bush administration.

Paul said during a separate interview on CBS's "Face the Nation" that there is “no evidence [Haspel] was protesting against torture, and there’s every evidence she was covering it up.”

He added that the U.S. should set an example for the world, and should not have someone who condoned torture leading the CIA.

Paul on CNN vowed to do “whatever it takes” to stop Pompeo’s and Haspel’s nominations, including launching a filibuster. He said he’s hopeful his actions will send a message to the American people, who will in turn oppose the nominations.

Paul's defection could force Republicans to rely on Vice President Pence, or Democrats, to get Pompeo through the full Senate. Assuming every Republican senator but Paul supports Pompeo, as they did for his current CIA post, and every Democrat opposes, the Senate would be split 50-50.

In Haspel's case, no Democrats have formally said they will oppose her, but several have raised concerns about her involvement in the interrogation program.

— This report was updated at 11:03 a.m.