Carney: WH stands by nominee for Iraq ambassador

• June 13, 2012 1:22 pm


JAKE TAPPER: Just a follow-up on the question about McGurk: The letter from the six Republicans on the Foreign Relations Committee is pretty specific about their issues. They say McGurk "lacks the leadership and management experience necessary to head America’s largest embassy, in one of the world’s most volatile regions." Members also have further doubts that stem from his role in the botched 2011 Status of Forces Agreement negotiations; furthermore, Senators are concerned by reports that some Iraqi political groups have stated they will not work with McGurk if confirmed; and finally, "the public release of information detailing unprofessional conduct demonstrates poor judgment and will affect the nominee’s credibility in the country where he has been nominated to serve." These are pretty serious concerns. Are—do you just dismiss them?

JAY CARNEY: I would simply say that we believe the United States will be greatly served by Mr. McGurk’s experience in Iraq, which is substantial. Some of the points that you raised go to differing views about Iraq, that have very little to do with our proposed nominees and just a difference of opinion. There are some who believe we should still be at war in Iraq. There are some who believe the president should not have ended the U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq—the president simply disagrees. He made a commitment that he would do that, he made a commitment that we would withdraw U.S. forces, that we would get out of the war in Iraq more responsibly than we got into it, and he has fulfilled that promise. There are elements of that letter that have to do with broader agreement—

TAPPER: Forget about the ones that—

CARNEY: In terms of Mr. McGurk, the president supports his nomination. He put him forward; he has a great deal of experience in Iraq—not just in this administration, but in the prior administration—and thinks he will serve ably as ambassador.

TAPPER: There’s been a couple of ambassadors that have had to step down—Luxembourg and the Bahamas—and there’s been State Department reports suggesting dysfunctional leadership. Are you at all concerned that the emails that came out last week indicate a certain lack of professionalism by Mr. McGurk?

CARNEY: I don’t have anything more on that particular issue. The State Department is probably the best place to go for that. I can tell you that the president put forward this nominee because he is qualified for the job and will serve ably when he is confirmed.

Published under: Brett McGurk, Video