Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) says that she will vote to approve Mike Pompeo, currently the CIA director, for secretary of state because Trump is "entitled" to his whatever cabinet he wants. (Photo: AP)

Democrat Heitkamp Backing War Hawk Pompeo Because Trump 'Entitled to His Own Cabinet'

A day after becoming first Democrat to say she would vote to confirm hawkish CIA director to be Trump's next secretary of state, Senator from North Dakota stumbled to explain why Pompeo's troubling record on torture and NSA spying would not dissuade her. Then quickly walked away.

Jon Queally

A day after Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) received rebuke for making the "deeply disappointing" announcement she would vote in favor of Mike Pompeo as the next U.S. secretary of state, she told a reporter on Friday the reason was because President Donald Trump is "entitled to his own cabinet" and that despite concerns over the current CIA director's support for torture, NSA spying programs, and other right-wing positions—well, "at the same token, if it's not him... I mean, we need another secretary of state."

Tracked down at the airport before leaving Washington, D.C. for the weekend, The Undercurrent's "intrepid" Lauren Windsor asked Heitkamp to explain her decision to become the first Democrat to publicly back Pompeo, a move that virtually ensures he will win Senate confirmation.

"You know, I always have believed that someone is entitled to is their own cabinet," Heitkamp said. "And, you know, [Pompeo's] clearly qualified."

But when the simple questions about Pompeo's controversial and well-documented record were asked, the Democrat seemed eager to get away.

Watch:

In response to Heitkamp's initial statement in support of Pompeo on Thursday, director of Win Without War Stephen Miles told Common Dreams that "this is a vote she will not be proud of when she looks back on her career."

On Friday,  Sen. Chris Coons, Democrat from Delaware and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, finally announced he would vote against approving Pompeo out of the committee.

That means that Pompeo will not receive the endorsement of the SFRC, but could still be brought to the full senate for a floor vote and—because of the support of Heitkamp, and possibly other Democrats—will likely be confirmed.

Because of Trump's new national security advisor John Bolton and his nominee to replace Pompeo at CIA, torture architect Gina Haspel, human rights organization and peace groups have been trying desperately to stop what they are calling the president's "war cabinet."

Not yet willing to give up, CodePink urged people to put their focus on getting Heitkamp to reverse her decision, writing in an email on Saturday morning:

We have been calling on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee not to approve Pompeo’s nomination and it looks like they won’t. But GOP leaders are planning to bring the nomination to the Senate floor anyway. In order to keep him from being approved, we need Senator Heitkamp to reverse her position. Help us tell Senator Heitcamp not to put a war-hawk in the State Department.

However, it appears that the president might just get exactly what he wants, given that lawmakers like Heitkamp believe that's exactly what Trump's "entitled" to have.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Report on Revolving Door and Tax Policy Sparks Calls for Federal Probe and Reforms

"This is an example of terrible management in the Treasury Department across multiple administrations."

Jessica Corbett ·


Nabisco Strike Ends After Union Members Approve New Contract

"Congratulations to these brave workers on their wins," said one labor writer. "May their determination and grit be an inspiration for workers everywhere."

Jessica Corbett ·


'I Had a Duty of Care': Doctor Praised for Violating Texas' New Abortion Ban

"I hope the law gets overturned," Dr. Alan Braid said, "and if this is what does it, that would be great."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Infuriating Disappointment': Biden DHS Ramping Up Deportations to Haiti

"It is unconscionable for the Biden administration to resume deportation flights to Haiti, despite the country's ongoing political, economic, and environmental disasters."

Jessica Corbett ·


Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Takes Aim at LGBTQ+ Rights While Urging Reversal of Roe

"Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated, religious-driven values on all of us through the courts."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo