Alabama’s only Democratic senator, Doug Jones, has thrown his support behind former CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s nomination for secretary of state after much speculation on how he would vote on the appointee.
In a statement, Jones said that the United States faced many challenges and threats around the world, and that whoever headed the State Department would need to face those problems head on.
Jones went on to say that he is supporting Pompeo, who was nominated for the position last month, after meeting with him.
“In his role at the CIA, Mr. Pompeo has demonstrated the ability to be an effective manager and operator on the world stage,” Jones said. “I also believe his perspective having worked in the intelligence community will be valuable given the national security challenges he would face as Secretary on day one.”
Jones has been pressured to support the nominee from multiple sources, including a letter from Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, who urged him to vote yes.
President Trump nominated Pompeo after former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson resigned in March amid a slue of policy disagreements with the president. Namely, the two had a dispute over how to handle North Korea’s hydrogen bomb testing with Tillerson advocating negotiation and Trump taking a hardliner approach of military threats.
Pompeo faced a tough committee meeting in the Senate with him narrowly avoiding a non-favorable appointment, which would have been the first for a secretary of state. Many are skeptical of his past hawkish statements about regime change and questioned whether he could serve as the lead negotiator for the United States.
Sen. Rand Paul, Republican from Kentucky, saved Pompeo with a last-minute reversal after talking with the Trump administration.
If approved by the Senate, Pompeo will join Trump’s White House at a critical time in U.S. foreign policy. Trump is expected to speak to North Korea to negotiate a deal to stop the country’s nuclear program and their missile testing that has worried countries in East Asia.
Pompeo reportedly went to North Korea for “high level talks” with top officials.
The would-be secretary of state would also be involved in overseeing the fate of the Iran Deal, which Trump has signaled he would end, and a group of talks about NAFTA, a trade deal with Mexico and Canada that Trump is also considering renegotiating.