Sen. Corker says he will 'avidly support' Pompeo nomination for secretary of state

Sen. Corker says he will 'avidly support' Pompeo nomination for secretary of state

April 12th, 2018 by Ben Benton in Breaking News

This story was updated April 12, 2018, at 11:39 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Thursday afternoon told secretary of state nominee Mike Pompeo that he would support his nomination to the post.

"Based on my personal meetings, and the phone calls, and certainly your outstanding testimony today, I think you're a person of high intellect," Corker said in a statement. "I think your background could not be better to serve in this capacity. I think you have the personal characteristics to lead the State Department in a way that generates the kind of culture and levers that we need around the world for active diplomacy. And for that reason, I plan to avidly support your nomination and confirmation."

This is Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 file photo of CIA Director Michael Pompeo, as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Iran nuclear deal was in near terminal condition and on life support even before President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, but his dismissal this week may hasten its demise. As CIA chief and Iran hawk Mike Pompeo prepares to take the helm of the State Department, the Trump administration is weighing whether to withdraw from the agreement earlier than the president has threatened, according to officials and outside advisers briefed on the matter. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

This is Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 file photo...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Earlier Thursday, Corker called on Pompeo, if confirmed, to become a stabilizing force for Washington and the world in a time of decline he says began more than a decade ago.

"Throughout the 20th Century, our allies viewed the United States as a reliable partner and a source of stability – a friend whose ideals and leadership made our world a better place," Corker said in remarks made at the hearing to consider Pompeo's nomination.

"Unfortunately, today, we are not counted on as we once were. The chasm between what our leaders say and the actions that they take can have a devastating impact," he said, noting inaction in 2013 in Syria when Assad used chemical weapons and the U.S. didn't respond.

"The loss of momentum was palpable. Our inconsistencies have created vacuums that are being eagerly filled by those who do not share our values," Corker said.

The senator said that when the president, backed by the most powerful military in the world, acts or speaks impulsively, good counsel has led the president to "evolve — from my perspective to a much better place — on a number of important issues."

"I believe the next secretary of state must continue to provide such counsel, even when it is difficult," he said.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

"If confirmed, you must continue to provide advice to the president that allows him to view a given situation holistically and not make decisions that focus on the impact to one domestic group or foreign government," he said.

Corker noted that "many strong voices have been terminated or resigned" and that a secretary of state "must have a fully functional department behind him."

Corker said he hopes Pompeo "will make it a priority to fill those key positions and work to earn the trust of the career public servants in both the department's foreign and civil service."

"An effective secretary of state must be able to prioritize the issues for the president and attempt to drown out the noise and chaos that can so often distract and bog down the leader of the free world from making sound and informed decisions," he said.