Cotton Confronted Schumer on Senate Floor Over Pompeo Confirmation Vote Delay

Tom Cotton
Tom Cotton / AP

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) on Friday reportedly accused Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) of breaking his word by delaying Mike Pompeo's confirmation vote to head the CIA, getting in a heated conversation hours after the presidential inauguration.

Cotton confronted the Senate minority leader over delaying the CIA director's confirmation after a deal had been brokered between Republicans and Democrats in the chamber, the Weekly Standard reported, citing several sources.

Those familiar with the situation said that Schumer, after getting Republicans to delay Pompeo's confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee by one day, had agreed to allow Pompeo to be confirmed on Inauguration Day by a voice vote.

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But on Thursday, the day before the inauguration, Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) said he would try to further delay Pompeo's confirmation vote, causing Cotton to attempt to avoid the delay. When the Senate reconvened the next day, after Donald Trump became president, Senate Democrats continued delay tactics.

Cotton confronted Schumer on the Senate floor over what Republicans called a broken promise on Pompeo's vote. The minority leader told Cotton to lower his voice and join him outside to have the discussion.

"Don't tell me to lower my voice!" Cotton responded, according to the Standard.

Schumer explained his position, saying the Senate had never confirmed a CIA director on Inauguration Day and that if he had been in the Senate eight years ago, he would have known that Republicans had tried to stall President Obama's selection at the time.

"Eight years ago, I was getting my ass shot at in Afghanistan. So don't talk to me about where I was eight years ago," Cotton shot back.

After Cotton asked for an explanation on the broken promise, Schumer argued he had only promised to not personally delay the confirmation but did not speak for his fellow Democrats.

"I said that I would not block him," Schumer reportedly said. "I never said that I could speak for 47 other Democrats."

Pompeo was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as CIA director on Monday night.