From The Washington Post:
By Marc A. Thiessen | April 19, 2018
For the first time in the history of the republic, it appears increasingly likely that a majority of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote against the president’s nominee for secretary of state. If this happens, it would be a black mark not on Mike Pompeo’s record, but on the reputation of this once-storied committee.
There are no instances of a secretary of state nominee ever receiving an unfavorable committee vote since such votes were first publicly recorded in 1925. (Before that, the committee voted in closed session.) Democrat John Kerry was approved in a unanimous voice vote, including from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who opposes Pompeo. Democrat Hillary Clinton was approved 16 to 1, despite concerns about foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation. Madeleine Albright was approved unanimously, with the strong support of my former boss, the committee’s conservative then-chairman, Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), who called Albright “a tough and courageous lady” and voted for her despite saying that she was “sincerely wrong” in some of her foreign policy views.
This has absolutely nothing to do with Mr Pompeo. As Marc Thiessen noted, several of the Democrats have noted that the nominee has no ethical questions hanging over his head, and that he is very qualified to lead the State Department. Mr Pompeo recently met with Kim Jong-un in North Korea, negotiating the groundwork for the planned summit meeting with Marshall Kim and President Trump. North Korea has indicated that it is willing to discuss total denuclearization, and has dropped its traditional demand that all American troops leave the Korean peninsula. The two Koreas are on the verge of officially ending the Korean War¹ though that is more an act between the leaders of the two countries than it is the United States.² Whether the summit meeting is successful, and what comes out of the negotiations remains to be seen, but the signs are present that a positive outcome is possible.
Even the editors of The Washington Post, hardly supporters of the President, believe that Mr Pompeo should be confirmed.
Yet the Democrats would torpedo the whole thing, just to spite the President of the United States. What do they have against peace? Do they really want to show disrespect for the man with whom Marshall Kim negotiated to set up the summit meeting now, just because they hate President Trump?
A negative vote would hurt the Foreign Relations Committee more than it would Pompeo. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will bring his nomination to the floor regardless of what the committee does, and it is expected that some Democrats — such as Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who has publicly announced her support — will vote for him. And when Pompeo is confirmed by the full Senate, he would be more than justified in determining that the State Department is best served by working closely with the appropriators and Senate leadership, and bypassing a committee that can’t make policy, can’t legislate and can’t lead.
The Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee won’t be able to stop Mr Pompeo’s confirmation; all that they can do is throw a temper tantrum. But if they get their way, they could seriously harm the prospects for peace with North Korea.
¹ – My mother worked in General MacArthur’s headquarters, and had the wonderful privilege of typing those unfortunate letters from the General to grieving parents back home. She told me, on more than one occasion, that since the United States never declared war on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, she could refer to the ‘Korean conflict’ or the ‘Korean police action,’ but the term ‘Korean war’ was never to be used.
² – However, it was the United States, not the Republic of Korea, which signed the 1953 armistice, and thus the United States has to sign any peace agreement.