White House on Pompeo Vote: Democrats Must Decide If They 'Love This Country More Than They Hate This President'

April 23, 2018

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that Democrats standing in the way of Mike Pompeo's confirmation as secretary of state would need to "decide whether they love this country more than they hate" President Donald Trump.

Pompeo is facing a down-to-the-wire confirmation vote to be the next leader of the State Department despite being easily confirmed last year as CIA Director.

"We certainly hope that some members will change their minds. Look, at some point, Democrats have to decide whether they love this country more than they hate this president," Sanders said on "Fox and Friends." "They have to decide that they want to put the safety and the security and the diplomacy of our country ahead of their own political games, and we're very hopeful that they will."

Pompeo got the votes of 14 Democrats and left-leaning independent Sen. Angus King (I., Maine.) last year to lead the CIA, but some Democrats who supported him previously have turned against him, citing reasons ranging from his conservative social views to claiming he has a "disdain for diplomacy."

Past secretaries of state have been confirmed with strong bipartisan support. President Barack Obama's two secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, got a combined five "nay" votes during their two confirmations.

Sanders also said opposing Pompeo had national security implications, as he has already met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un ahead of a planned Trump-Kim summit over North Korea's rogue nuclear program.

"To stop that would be incredibly dangerous and damaging for our country and for the world," Sanders said.

Trump tweeted about the vote on Monday, saying, "Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people, including the Ambassador to Germany. They are maxing out the time on approval process for all, never happened before. Need more Republicans!"