Bob Menéndez Beefs with State Department Over Nominees
Senator Bob Menéndez (D-NJ), the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, is objecting to some State Department nominees over their qualifications, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is really peeved. In a four-paragraph statement peppered with diatribe on October 10th, Pompeo accused Menéndez of “putting our nation at risk” by holding up Senate votes over 60 department nominees, representing more than a quarter of all senior-level Senate-confirmable positions at the department. Menéndez’s office noted that the Foreign Relations Committee has only 39 nominations before it. The rest have been advanced to the floor, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has sole control over which nominees from across the federal bureaucracy will get floor time and in what order. Menéndez also highlighted a particularly problematic nominee who failed to disclose sexual harassment allegations against him and another who was not forthcoming about being under an FBI investigation for a “pay-to-play” scheme. One nominee to serve as Ambassador to Malta had a restraining order taken out against her a decade ago for leaving a bullet-riddled target sheet in the office of an Arizona doctor she was upset with. Menéndez’s office also said in a statement that many of Trump’s diplomatic nominees’ have “track records of deeply offensive public statements, unbefitting of an official representative of the United States, including derisive comments about current sitting U.S. senators, extremist views on immigrants, and demeaning comments about women.” The beef between the two comes at a time when the U.S. is embroiled in several global conflicts, including a questionable relationship with Saudi Arabia -- to which there is no Ambassador. More here.