Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer may have learned the hard way that it’s not wise to patronize a former U.S. combat veteran who was unhappy with him for reportedly going back on his word.
The Weekly Standard’s Steven Hayes appeared on Fox News Monday to say Schumer told Republican leaders he would allow Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, to be confirmed as CIA Director by voice vote on Inauguration Day, but then broke his promise.
A deal was reportedly struck where Republicans agreed to delay Pompeo’s confirmation hearing for a day in exchange for Schumer agreeing to include Pompeo in the group of national security officials who were confirmed by a voice vote Friday
“Democrats asked that the hearing be moved so that six hearings did not occur on one day,” a senior Democratic senate aide said, according to Hayes.
Hayes said a “pretty tough exchange” ensued Friday between Schumer and Sen. Tom Cotton, R- Ark., who served in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer and put in combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Not common for the kind of exchanges you see in this usually genteel body,” Hayes said.
He described the details of the exchange in his Weekly Standard column:
The Senate reconvened after the inaugural ceremonies on Friday, with Pompeo’s nomination set to come up at 4:50pm. Cotton angrily confronted Schumer about his broken promise. According to witnesses, Schumer told Cotton to lower his voice and asked him move off of the Senate floor to an adjacent hallway for a private discussion. “We need to take this out into the hallway,” Schumer said. Cotton walked with Schumer but loudly rejected his first request. “Don’t tell me to lower my voice!” he shouted, with an additional salty admonition tacked on for emphasis. Burr and Cornyn were present, as was Senator Mark Warner, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and several aides.
Schumer told Cotton that the Senate had never previously confirmed a CIA director on Inauguration Day and if Cotton had been around eight years earlier, he’d know that Republicans didn’t extend that courtesy for incoming president Barack Obama. “Eight years ago, I was getting my ass shot at in Afghanistan,” Cotton snapped. “So don’t talk to me about where I was 8 years ago.”
The weasel Schumer reportedly explained away the broken deal by saying, “I said that I would not block him, I never said that I could speak for 47 other Democrats.”
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