Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulVaccine 'resisters' are a real problem Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Journalist Dave Levinthal discusses 'uptick' in congressional stock trade violations MORE (R-Ky.) on Sunday vowed to do “whatever it takes” to block President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups 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 PompeoMike PompeoState Department watchdog probing whether Trump aides took gifts meant for foreign officials Biden shows little progress with Abraham Accords on first anniversary Biden slips further back to failed China policies 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.
Trump last week fired Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Supreme Court lets Texas abortion law stand Trump-era ban on travel to North Korea extended Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump 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.