Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has been a vocal critic of Neocon foreign policy, something epitomized by what we saw during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama years, and he’s worried that President Trump is being heavily influenced by neocon supporters like his CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
While Paul was willing to confirm Pompeo as the CIA Director, he has more concerns about confirming him as the next Secretary of State. Pompeo did nothing to help himself while being questioned by Senator Paul, because Pompeo refused to admit that the war in Iraq was a mistake.
However, in an effort to win Paul’s vote, both the President and Pompeo have both assured him that the Iraq war was a mistake and that the administration will continue to follow President Trump’s foreign policy plans – which would mean, nonintervention whenever possible.
“I’ve talked to Mike Pompeo again and again and again,” Senator Paul said. “And I’ve talked to the president again and again. And what I hear from the president is no one is changing his mind, these wars were ill-advised, and his goal is to get us out of most of these wars. So, I actually want Trump to be Trump. I want people around him who will give him the advice, and not try to persuade him perpetual war is the answer.”
“Pompeo assures me that he does understand that the Iraq War was a mistake. I’d like to hear it a little more to others other than myself, but that’s what I’m hearing from him and the president.
Senator Paul said that he also spoke to the president about ending mass surveillance: “I haven’t been given anything, promised anything. I don’t get a bridge built somewhere, but I have asked that we consider the liberty of the individual in the Constitution, and I have been assured by the president that there will be a discussion… of things the administration can do to have Fourth Amendment protections for Americans.”
“So with all that being said, I’ve changed my mind. I do take him at his word that he has incorporated the idea that the Iraq War was a mistake…
I do think the country understands that the Afghan War has gone on for 18 years, and they’re ready for some other ideas. I hope they’ll let Trump be Trump and Pompeo will be a constructive influence.”
Senator Paul’s vote (along with Democrat Joe Manchin (D-WV)) means that Pompeo cleared his first major hurdle and is on track to be our next Secretary of State.