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Actually, Rand Paul Will Support Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State

Paul says he's reversed his stance on Trump's nominee after several conversations with the president.

KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS/NewscomKEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS/NewscomAfter weeks of suggesting he would vote against the appointment of CIA Director Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) flipped on Monday afternoon and now says he will support Pompeo's appointment. The reversal likely smooths Pompeo's path to confirmation in the Senate, where Paul and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) were two crucial GOP hold-outs.

Paul, on Twitter, said he was convinced to support Pompeo's appointment after several conversations with President Donald Trump. Paul wrote that he "received confirmation the Director Pompeo agrees" with the president that "the Iraq war was a mistake, and that it is time to leave Afghanistan."

With those assurances from the president, who has never changed mind or gone back on a promise, Paul said he was ready to deliver an affirmative vote for Pompeo.

Paul had pressed Pompeo on Afghanistan during a confirmation hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month. Pompeo said at the time that he "shared the president's view" that it was not yet time for the military to leave the Central Asian nation where the United States has been engaged since shortly after the 9/11 attacks, more than 16 years ago.

But Paul faced significant political pressure from the White House to back Pompeo's confirmation. "I still think it's hard for Rand Paul to explain to Kentucky voters how he voted 'yes' for John Kerry for Secretary of State and 'no' for Mike Pompeo," Marc Short, a top legislative liaison for the White House, told Axios' Jonathan Swan over the weekend.

Paul had opposed Pompeo's appointment to run the CIA last year, saying in January 2017 that Pompeo's "desire for security will trump his defense of liberty." He was the lone GOP vote against Pompeo's appointment.

Paul's position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee put him in a critical spot. If the committee's 10 Democratic members oppose him, Paul could be the swing vote on the 21-member committee. A committee vote is expected later this month.

With Paul falling in line, it seems like Pompeo is on a glide path to being the next secretary of state. And America's longest war continues.

Photo Credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • TLBD||

    Pompeo is the man for this moment in history.

    North Korea, State Dept Corruption.

  • Jay Dubya||

    right. nothing prepares you for negotiating nuclear disarmament with a lunatic (norks) & religious extremists (iran) like a few years as representative for bum fuck, ozarks and fundraising for antigay fundies (actually he & the Supreme Leader likely see eye to eye on a variety of social issues). the only possible upside to this is that pompeo might actually be less dangerous in State than in his equally-baffling current position as cia chief (a comparitive advantage made sily less appealing by his proposed replacement by Granny Waterboard.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I am not surprised. Rand is no Ron.

  • TLBD||

    Rand is far more wise than Ron.

  • Just Say'n||

    Rand is more strategic

  • Libertymike||

    What do you mean by strategic and how does your meaning apply here?

  • Harvard||

    He means Rand is thinking about his re-election.

  • Just Say'n||

    Paul has taken principled stands when it wasn't counter productive. He vocally opposed passage of FISA renewal and the bombings of Syria which is far more important than upsetting the president and his caucus by opposing a nominee that was going to win Senate approval anyways after Manchin and Donnelly said they'd vote for Pompeo

  • Libertymike||

    What is the President's caucus?

    The President's base was promised that the swamp would be drained. Do you doubt that a very high percentage of his base would not hesitate to characterize Pompeo as a swamp creature?

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Who is or is not a "swamp creature" depends entirely on whether Trump opposes or supports the person.

    Look at a guy like John Bolton for heaven's sake.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    "Look at a guy like John Bolton for heaven's sake"

    /Swoon

  • Libertymike||

    If one has any of the following characteristics, one is a swamp creature:

    (1) In Congress, House or Senate, for more than one term, alone, any other swamp characteristics makes the case all the more stronger;

    (2) Ivy League pedigree, alone, any other swamp characteristics makes the case all the more;

    (3) Service academy grad plus 4 years of military employment alone, any other swamp characteristics makes the case all the more stronger;

    (4) More than 10 years, total, of any government employment, whether the same be it at the local, state, and / or federal level, alone, any other swamp traits makes the case all the more stronger;

    (5) CEO, CFO, President, V.P., or any other high ranking executive officer of a defense contractor;

    (6) An owner / founder of a defense contractor;

    (7) More than 4 years in an appointed, cabinet level, or sub-cabinet level, position total, of state and / or federal government;

    (8) More than 2 years with the CIA, FBI, IRS, DEA, FDA, ATF, NSA, or the NSC;

    (9) More than 1 term as a governor of a state; and

    (10) Think tank scribe / policy wonk at a think tank funded by MIC / National Security interests.

  • Jay Dubya||

    jesus dude.gary johnson meets your definition.

  • Just Say'n||

    The Republican caucus numbskull

  • Devastator||

    His base worships him. He could say the moon is made out of cheese and they'd say "sounds about right". They just want a savior, it doesn't matter what nonsense comes out of his mouth. He is the epitome of a demagogue for his base of worshipers.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Maybe he agreed to back Pompeo in exchange for Trump supporting his budget.

  • Jay Dubya||

    FYI t wo democrats flipped their vote in the Senate, which killed Pauls leverage. IMO he was looking to sell his vote for something else here. but going against his own voters by threatening he Hairplugs Christ agenda in a losing battle over an appointment isnt smart. i despise Pompeo, but this isnt exactly PATRIOT, AUMF or budget renewals either. better hills to die on

  • Tom Bombadil||

    "What do you mean by strategic and how does your meaning apply here?"

    Strategery. It's part of the Bush Doctrine.

  • Just Say'n||

    Obviously, if Pompeo didn't get confirmed somehow the war in Afghanistan would magically end. Paul did nothing wrong here. The president deserves the advisors that he wants, unless there is something significantly wrong with the nominee. But, it's cute how suddenly cabinet appointees need to be seriously considered.

  • ||

    This was my thought exactly, Paul played the off-suit 2 and 7 he was dealt to the best of his ability. Astoundingly he did it in an anti-Trump fashion and TReasoNN still manages to beat him up about it.

  • Libertymike||

    Is voting for Pompeo's confirmation going to hasten the US withdrawal from Afghanistan?

    Is voting for Pompeo going to usher in a new era of shrinking the empire?

    Is voting for Pompeo going to assist fiscal discipline?

    Is voting for Pompeo consistent with draining the swamp?

    Draining the swamp necessarily must mean that all cabinet nominees should have zero Washington experience and should not have an Ivy pedigree.

  • ||

    Draining the swamp necessarily must mean that all cabinet nominees should have zero Washington experience and should not have an Ivy pedigree.

    Did Paul run on a platform of draining the swamp? I don't see how refusing to confirm Pompeo hastens the withdrawal, shrinks the empire, or disciplines the fiscals. Especially considering that this is the second Secretary of State in as many years. He used his meager input on the matter to extort a purity pledge from the President and his would-be Secretary of State.

  • Libertymike||

    Sure, refusing to vote for Pompeo would not hasten the withdrawal from Afghanistan nor shrink the Empire.

    But, by refusing to cave to Trump, Rand would demonstrate that he means business. He loses nothing by voting no.

    Of course, he did not, as far as I know, employ the term, "drain the swamp," in his most recent election campaign, but, as a pol who frequently invokes libertarian principles, draining the swamp certainly rhymes with the same.

  • Just Say'n||

    How did he cave? You realize Pompeo already has the votes to be confirmed, right? Paul voting against Pompeo in committee would have only upset McConnell and it would have been a meaningless gesture

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Well, that is certainly one way of looking at it. Another is that since Pompeo was going to be confirmed anyway, it wouldn't matter for Rand to stand with his principles. Thus, voting for Pompeo is a meaningless gesture.

  • BigT||

    Yeah. Rand should have told Trump that he'd vote for Pompeo only if his vote was needed.

  • Sevo||

    "Draining the swamp necessarily must mean that all cabinet nominees should have zero Washington experience and should not have an Ivy pedigree."

    Even for mikey, this is sarc.

  • silver.||

    I agree, I think Paul did fine. When he responded to the president's pressure to meet again with Pompeo we knew he would back off. Paul does a lot of posturing, but with the broken-ass politics in Washington, I don't think he can do all that much alone. It's a small comfort that at least somebody is making a fuss about the myriad ways we're being screwed over daily in DC. He's one of a handful of federal politicians that I don't intensely abhor and distrust.

  • Conchfritters||

    Paul does a lot of posturing

    That's why Trump admires Randy so much. He postures with the best of them. And they're golfing buddys.

  • Devastator||

    He should vote his values and not the way McConnell wants him to. Don't be McConnell's lapdog Rand...

  • Harvard||

    Rand voted to confirm Hillary for Secretary of State. Rand voted to confirm Mitch Romney for Secretary of State. Pompeo already has made more diplomatic bones than either of the aforementioned. Rand is not but a grandstanding pimp.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    That is naught true.

  • Bramblyspam||

    I sense quid pro quo. Question is, what kind of assurances did Rand get out of this deal? Consideration for some issue near and dear to his heart? It's kinda late to push for spending cuts.

    Rand has shown himself open to striking compromises. Whether this is a bad thing or not depends on what he gets out of the deal. I understand not wasting political capital by standing for lost causes, but I'm concerned that Rand sometimes backs down too easily. I feel that one reason why his presidential campaign flopped was because he tried to reassure the hawks that they could live with him. This alienated the non-interventionists who would have supported him, and the hawks were never going to back him anyway.

    I look forward to seeing how Rand explains his Pompeo flip-flop. At this point, I think Pompeo will be probably be okay on North Korea, and he might even be okay on Afghanistan (though I'm not holding my breath for that war to end), but I remain worried about his hawkishness vis a vis Iran. Then again, Trump is looking likely to take us to war vs Iran whether Pompeo gets confirmed or not.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Trump's not the only one who could kill a man in broad daylight, with witnesses, and his supporters would find some excuse for it.

  • BigT||

    Obama? Pelosi? RBG? Putin? Zoolander?

    Please don't keep us in suspense.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Bramblyspam LAME defense of Rand Paul. The Paulistas are like the Trumptards on that.
    Because cult.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "With those assurances from the president, who has never changed mind or gone back on a promise, Paul said he was ready to deliver an affirmative vote for Pompeo."

    Sarcasm aside, Trump has been pretty good at keeping his campaign promises.

    Meanwhile, Pompeo has an ongoing relationship he's built working with Kim Jong-un in person--with apparent success so far. Denying Trump the Secretary of State he wants in that light would be a real dick move. Not only would it be awkward to have Pompeo show up as some other Secretary of State's flunkie come the summit with Kim in June, showing the North Koreans that our President can't even get the Secretary of State he wants might also cast real doubt on whether the president can get the terms he negotiates on a nuclear disarmament agreement approved through congress.

    Why would you want to cut the legs out from under the president in the eyes of the North Koreans like that ahead of an important summit?

    Whatever else we think on other issues, let's all hope that the Trump administration is wildly successful in its attempt to shut down North Korea's nuclear program through peaceful negotiations. Can't we all agree on that?

  • Conchfritters||

    Peace! (as in I agree, not that there will actually be peace, but one can always hope)

  • Sevo||

    "Whatever else we think on other issues, let's all hope that the Trump administration is wildly successful in its attempt to shut down North Korea's nuclear program through peaceful negotiations. Can't we all agree on that?"

    Ken, you've gotten stick from me many times, but in this case, that's me in the seat next to you.
    I doubt seriously that Kim is willing to yield on *verifiable* de-nuking, simply because he is head thug in a thuggery and has no other way to maintain power.
    But so far, there is no cost in trying, and if Kim pulls shit after the meeting, the worst that happens is Trump gave it the 'college try' (it won't be reported that way)

  • Michael Hihn||

    Sarcasm aside,

    But ...

    Trump has been pretty good at keeping his campaign promises.

    Three or four.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Turns out the Waffle House shooter is a sovereign citizen type:

    It's unclear just how extreme Reinking's sovereign citizen declaration was, or if it had any influence in his decision to open fire on the Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee. His past run-ins with law enforcement also include a June 2017 incident where Reinking threatened someone with an AR-15 and exposed himself to others at a public poolAccording to the Associated Press, he's also threatened suicide and claimed the singer Taylor Swift was stalking him. In May 2016, Reinking told police officers in Tazewell County, Illinois, that Taylor Swift was hacking his phone.

    A 2014 study from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism found that officers perceived these "sovereign citizens" as "the greatest threats to their communities."

    http://www.complex.com/life/20.....use-arrest

    But before the CIA adds him to a right-wing terrorist list he is clearly crazy - witness the Taylor Swift nuttiness.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Turns out the Waffle House shooter is a sovereign citizen type"

    You must be delighted.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    No, I think he is a nutcase. But left-wing sites are claiming his shooting was racially motivated since the victims were all black.

  • Eddie1975||

    Uh...it's a Waffle House.

  • Devastator||

    I eat at Waffle House, am I black and don't know it?

  • Tom Bombadil||

    They were not black. Sitting 5 feet from the fry chef can discolor a person.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    "But left-wing sites are claiming his shooting was racially motivated since the victims were all black."

    If he wasn't a sovereign citizen type, would their racial analysis be more valid? Isn't anyone who shoots up a Waffle House a nutcase?

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    Left-wing sites can claim racial motivations when everyone involved is black. Under the circumstances, mocking the analysis of left-wing sites has more potential than taking them seriously.

  • Just Say'n||

    Obviously anyone who asserts individual autonomy over state authority is suspect.

  • Conchfritters||

    Sovereign citizen, eh? He will soon find out that the courtroom is a very real place.

  • Just Say'n||

    I like how Paul is a sellout, but every two weeks Reason offers undeserved praise to Wyden, because he suddenly is in favor of restricting executive authority now that it's politically advantageous to him

  • Ken Shultz||

    It bothered me when they treated Paul like a hero for voting against a bill that cut $1.022 trillion in entitlement spending.

    Peter Suderman praised him for it.

    Then Suderman bashed Paul Ryan for being a sell out on spending--after Ryan passed a bill through the House that cut more than $1.022 trillion in entitlement spending.

    Go figure.

    Reason staff are easy marks for head fakes on signaling, too.

  • Just Say'n||

    Reason has determined that anything that trolls Trump is a win for "liberty"

  • Crusty Juggler||

    DAMN YOU, TREASONNN!

  • Just Say'n||

    Yup, you're right it made complete sense that Suderman opposed a dramatic reform of the Medicaid system. That would only reduce the size and scope of the state, while reducing deficits. Just a principled position by Suderman.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    You turned Rand Paul acting like a typical spineless Senator into Reason writer whining. - that's impressive!

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    It's old hat and you know it!

  • Joe_JP||

    Multiple posts seem to suggest trolling Hillary Clinton voters or Democrats also is.

    Maybe, there is a troll for liberty aspect to Reason.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    You really can't tell the difference between criticizing Rand for abandoning principles and praising Wyden for sticking up for liberty once in a while?

  • Conchfritters||

    On a much more horrible note, what a fucking awful situation in Toronto today. I watched the video of the arrest, and the Canadian cop showed insane restraint when he stared down the van driver/murderous fuckwad when he was arresting him. Murderous scumbag feigned shooting the cop with some object in his hand multiple times (probably fake gun looking for murder by cop) and the cop just stared him down. Bravo Mountie.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Yeah, that was weird. For once when a cop would have been justified in shooting someone he wouldn't pull the trigger.

  • Hank Phillips||

    That was a Canadian cop. Those guys are educated, polite, enforce women's individual rights and work for a government that is not dominated by televangelized whack jobs and force-initiating totalitarians.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Google "Canada" and "Free Speech", fascist dipshit.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Honestly Hank, that stuff that comes out of your mouth when you remove Tony's cock............

  • Sevo||

    "That was a Canadian cop. Those guys are educated, polite, enforce women's individual rights and work for a government that is not dominated by televangelized whack jobs and force-initiating totalitarians."
    Sarc.
    Even for that idiot Hank, sarc.

  • Mickey Rat||

  • Harvard||

    Crusty will keep her.

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    The dead eyes and enthusiastic smile are points in her favor, but I can't picture Crusty going for blondes. Fortunately, her head can be shaved to fix that.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    The supposed cult moved to Brooklyn, us normies are safe.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Izzis the same antichoice mystical bigot Randal Paul that voted to confirm J Beauregard Sessions?

  • Just Say'n||

    I love how voting to confirm cabinet members has suddenly become such a litmus test. Tell me, how did Fonzie and the gang's favorite libertarian-y senator, Wyden, vote on President Obama's cabinet choices?

    But, you did hit the nail on the head. The fact that the Pauls are not rabidly pro-choice is why some "libertarians" hate them so much. Some "libertarians" think abortion on demand without any limitations is more important than pushing back against hawkish foreign policy, restraining the administrative state, and opposing FISA abuse.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Yep, and the opinion of obsessive baby murdering wack jobs is oh so important.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Well, that is disappointing.
    Especially since Donnelly and Manchin were going to vote for Pompeo anyway, so Trump didn't even need Paul's vote to put him over the top.

  • Libertymike||

    The Trumpadors just don't grok the truth about Pompeo (R-Swamp).

  • Just Say'n||

    They needed Paul's vote so Pompeo would win a recommendation from the committee. But, your right: there was nothing for Paul to gain from voting against Pompeo, since he was already going to win the vote in the Senate. Voting against Pompeo in committee would have only upset McConnell and isolated. Paul made the right call

  • Joe_JP||

    "only upset McConnell and isolated"

    So, Rand Paul is a loyal Republican, not a libertarian as such. That's fair though it suggests some people are confused on the matter.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Paul made the wrong call, as he usually does when it means his colleagues might be displeased.

  • Devastator||

    He made the wrong call, just like all the other politicians who don't stick to their values.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    (lol)

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    (snicker)

  • Sevo||

    good!

  • Just Say'n||

    Still not true.

  • PaulTheBeav||

    Paul said he would try to stop the confirmation. With several Democrats on board Paul cannot do that. He did however make the effort just as he promised. Which way he votes will have no impact on the outcome.

  • Joe_JP||

    He could have blocked him in committee which would make it harder to confirm him -- it would take extra effort and there would be more of a chance to stop the confirmation long term. What he did to "try" here is unclear. And, he said he was strongly against Pompeo and Handel overall. Voting for him (after he voted against him for CIA director) does confuse some people in that fashion.

  • Joe_JP||

    (That should be Gina Haspel.)

  • Devastator||

    Then he should vote his conscious when it comes to the real vote and reject Pompeo. That's the only way to save face, by not supporting the guy who wants to bomb NK and Iran as soon as he gets a chance?

  • Michael Hihn||

    How does Trump wind up owning his soul? It's not like he faces re-election in this fall's likely blowout (not til 2022). Mitch McConnell is more independent.

  • Crusty Juggler||

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I don't read news sources that are not recognized by the great minds at Wikipedia.

  • Devastator||

    Big mistake to fold on hiring a warmonger. So much for staying out of foreign entanglements, now it's all entanglements all the time. Disappointed in you Dr. Paul.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Another sellout. Like voting to add $2 trillion in new debt while whining about ... the debt
    But still proof of as libertarian moment, eh>

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Well, shit. I wonder what happened? Did a democrat call Pompeo a poopy head? Or does Trump have photos of Rand with a dead hooker, young boy, or farm animal?

  • Ahaz||

    It's been clear to me for a long time that Paul talks a good game and that's about it. In the end, he does what every Republican in the Senate does and rolls over for Trump. This am on Morning Joe, Paul talked about an executive order from the President concerning FBI ability to look at FISA data without warrant. If he was really concerned about it, he would introduce legislation or pull a page out of his counterpart from Colorado, Cory Gardner, who held up nominations until he received proper assurances that the the Obama era marijuana policies wouldn't be revoked by Sessions. Paul is a fraud.

  • HouseHubby||

    Well, this is it...I'm officially done with Rand. It's really sad that he doesn't seem to realize that, with the slim GOP lead in the Senate, his vote MATTERS. It ALWAYS matters. He should feel blessed that he actually has the ability to influence so much in DC. But no, he's throwing it away simply to appease the swamp. A sad day indeed.

  • Michael Hihn||

    With all these caves, is Rand Paul earning the wrong reputation?

    ...Just last week, Trump was asked at a White House event if he was concerned about Mike Pompeo's confirmation. "I will say this about Rand Paul: he's never let me down," the president said. "Rand Paul is a very special guy, as far as I'm concerned. He's never let me down. And I don't think he'll let us down again."

    … it's hard not to wonder if Rand Paul fully appreciates the kind of reputation he's cultivating. After all, Paul vowed to do "whatever it takes" to stop Pompeo, and then he caved. Similarly, last summer, he voiced all kinds of concerns about the GOP's health care repeal plans, before eventually voting for the final Republican plan anyway. Paul was even briefly critical of his party's regressive tax plan, before he endorsed it.

    ... Paul doesn't appear to be playing the game especially well. In a 51-49 Senate. The whole squeaky-wheel thesis exists for a reason: members send signals that their vote is in doubt, party leaders sweat a bit, and senators then strike some kind of deal, trading their vote for some other priority.

    Rand Paul, however, has a habit of reversing course in exchange for effectively nothing. Walking away embarrassed and empty-handed is an unfortunate combination for a politician.

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