March 13, 2018

Cardin on the Departure of Secretary of State Tillerson

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on President Trump’s decision to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

“Secretary Tillerson’s firing is symptomatic of President Trump’s inability to take independent advice from his advisors. While Secretary Tillerson and I may have disagreed on many policy issues, it was apparent – particularly when it came to North Korea and Iran – that he gave the president an unvarnished look at the realities and the importance of diplomacy in critical situations. It is disturbing to see such a high-level change in our diplomatic team as negotiations with North Korea move into a new and delicate stage.

“As a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I intend to press Director Pompeo on how he currently views America’s role in the world. I want to know whether he recognizes the role of the State Department in promoting America’s values, human rights and democracy around the world and how that strengthens U.S. national security here at home. I also will be looking for details of how he intends to rebuild the State Department’s diplomatic infrastructure and support our Foreign Service and civilian workers.

“I voted against Mr. Pompeo when he was nominated for CIA director because of his troubling opposition to closing Guantanamo Bay and his willingness to not only support but expand bulk collection of innocent Americans’ personal information. I am hopeful that after his time at the CIA, Director Pompeo has a greater appreciation for the balance between national security and civil rights, as well as the important role of our national security public servants. I look forward to a robust hearing in the near future.”

###