Gillibrand, Who Voted Down Mattis, Says Trump Cabinet Nominees Either Had Wrong Values or Weren’t Qualified

• January 17, 2019 12:05 pm


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) said her opposition to nearly every one of President Donald Trump's cabinet nominees was due to them either having an agenda contrary to "our values" or being unqualified.

Among the nominees she voted down was Gen. James Mattis to lead the Pentagon as secretary of defense. Gillibrand was the only senator to vote him down.

"Well, I looked at every nominee on the merits, and frankly, each nominee I looked at wasn't worthy of my vote," she told Rachel Maddow Wednesday on MSNBC. "They either had an agenda that was so contrary to our values and what I believe in, or they just weren't plain old qualified."

The 2020 hopeful went on to name-drop nominees she opposed who were narrowly confirmed like Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt. Maddow didn't bring up Mattis.

"So for each nominee, I looked at the merits and decided, is this person going to help move our country forward or not. For the most part, President Trump has lined his cabinet with people who are absolutely uninterested in helping the American people," Gillibrand said.

She did vote to confirm Nikki Haley to be United Nations ambassador, as well as former Obama official David Shulkin to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Gillibrand's office did not respond to a request for comment.