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Murphy announces opposition to Pompeo as secretary of State

Murphy announces opposition to Pompeo as secretary of State
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphySaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' Pompeo: Saudis committed to 'accountability' over journalist's disappearance MORE (D-Conn.) said Monday he will vote against current CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' MORE’s confirmation to become secretary of State.

“I hope my concerns will prove to be unwarranted, but they mean I cannot support Director Pompeo’s nomination,” Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement.

“I will vote no.”

Murphy’s opposition to Pompeo is unsurprising, but narrows the path for Pompeo's nomination to be favorably reported out of the committee.

With Republican committee member Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Noisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks MORE (Ky.) vowing to vote against Pompeo, the nominee needs at least one Democrat to support him to be favorably reported.

Only two Democrats on the committee voted for Pompeo to become CIA director — Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: Trump says 'rogue killers' could be behind missing journalist | Sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | Saudis may claim Khashoggi killed by accident | Ex-VA chief talks White House 'chaos' | Most F-35s cleared for flight Democrats torch Trump for floating 'rogue killers' to blame for missing journalist Election Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms MORE (Va.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenBrunson release spotlights the rot in Turkish politics and judiciary Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Missing journalist strains US-Saudi ties | Senators push Trump to open investigation | Trump speaks with Saudi officials | New questions over support for Saudi coalition in Yemen Senators demand answers on Trump administration backing of Saudi coalition in Yemen MORE (N.H.). Murphy did not vote on Pompeo’s CIA confirmation.

Kaine said Sunday he will not vote for Pompeo. Shaheen has expressed concerns about Pompeo, but has not definitively said "no" yet.

In his statement, Murphy said he was impressed with Pompeo’s vows to improve State Department morale that by all accounts took a hit under fired Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTrump administration rigging the game, and your retirement fund could be the loser Haley’s exit sends shockwaves through Washington Turkey-Russia Idlib agreement: A lesson for the US MORE.

“I was impressed by Director Pompeo’s recognition of the many failures of Rex Tillerson’s tenure at the State Department,” he said. “I choose to believe Mr. Pompeo’s promise that he will work hard to restore morale at State and work to supplement, not atrophy, the diplomatic tools at the Secretary of State’s disposal.”

But, Murphy added, he is concerned about Pompeo’s hawkish record, a characterization Pompeo pushed back on during his confirmation hearing last week.

“With John Bolton as the national security advisor and Director Pompeo as the president’s pick for secretary of State, I am deeply concerned that the president is intentionally surrounding himself with people who will narrow the foreign policy options available to him, prioritizing military solutions over diplomatic solutions,” Murphy said. “This weekend’s illegal and counterproductive strikes against the Syrian government underscore the urgent need for a secretary of State who will stand up for the Constitution and articulate to the president the danger of American military hubris.”

Murphy also pointed to Pompeo’s record on issues such as torture, Muslim rights and LGBT rights. Pompeo supported so-called enhanced interrogation as a congressman, but has since said he would not carry out an order to torture.

In a heated exchange during his confirmation hearing, Pompeo confirmed he continues to oppose gay marriage. Pompeo has also denounced American Muslims for their “silence” after terrorist attacks.

“Finally, at a time when America’s leadership in the world is collapsing, I am concerned that Mr. Pompeo’s personal beliefs on a number of issues, from torture to the rights of Muslim and LGBT Americans, place him outside mainstream American values and will compound the already disastrous moral leadership position of this administration around the globe,” Murphy said.

If Pompeo is not reported favorably out of committee, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' MORE (R-Ky.) can still bring the nominee to the floor. But only one Cabinet member has ever been confirmed after not being reportedly favorably out of committee: Henry Wallace as Commerce secretary in 1945.