Red-state Democrats who oppose Mike Pompeo's confirmation for Secretary of State may "suffer the consequences" in their re-election bids, Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) said Wednesday.
Cotton and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway spoke by phone to reporters Wednesday about Pompeo's nomination. While Pompeo was confirmed easily to be CIA Director last year, 66-32, he has faced stiffer opposition to his nomination to replace the fired Rex Tillerson at the State Department.
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Cotton cited Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W. Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) in particular, noting President Donald Trump carried all three of their states in a landslide when he was elected in 2016.
"I cannot imagine that senators like Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Joe Donnelly from Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp from [North Dakota,] who are facing re-election in states that our president won by landslide elections, are going to oppose an obviously qualified nominee for whom they voted last year," Cotton said.
"Mike Pompeo will be confirmed," he added. "It's simply a matter of whether or not the Senate Democrats want to confirm him with a large bipartisan majority, the way we have confirmed nominees with whom we've had many political disagreements in the past … or whether they want to continue playing partisan games. If they do so, and they're up for re-election, they may suffer the consequences."
Manchin, Donnelly, and Heitkamp were among 14 Democrats who voted to confirm Pompeo as CIA Director. However, several Democrats who supported Pompeo last year, like Sens. Tim Kaine (Va.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), have announced they will vote "nay" on Pompeo for Secretary of State.