March 13, 2018

Duckworth Statement on Tillerson Firing, Nominations of Pompeo & Haspel


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) issued the following statement this morning regarding the President’s firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the nomination of CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who has called those who engaged in torture “patriots,” to replace Tillerson:

“Just hours ago, Rex Tillerson became the lone Trump Administration cabinet official to stand with the United Kingdom in condemning Russia’s nerve agent attack on English soil. Donald Trump’s reaction to Tillerson’s support of a close American ally facing threats from Russia was to fire him. I’ve always been clear that the Trump Administration needs steady, thoughtful and effective people at the top—not just in Cabinet positions but in critical diplomatic roles that have remained vacant for more than a year, like Ambassador to the Republic of Korea.

“Rather than taking serious steps to ensure stability or fill our diplomatic corps, once again Donald Trump chose chaos and turmoil today over the kind of leadership the American people desperately need and deserve. Even worse, his new nominee to be Secretary of State—the highest diplomatic post in the nation—has not expressed any moral opposition to torture. Who we confirm for this post will send a message to the rest of the world on our nation’s commitment, or lack thereof, to condemning torture and promoting human rights around the globe.”

Duckworth also criticized the President’s nomination of Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo as CIA Director, highlighting the leading role Haspel played in the torture of CIA detainees as well as her role in covering up those actions by ordering video evidence to be destroyed.

“I voted against Mr. Pompeo’s nomination to be CIA Director because he failed to express moral opposition to torture, but Ms. Haspel has done much worse. Not only did she directly supervise the torture of detainees, but she also participated in covering it up by helping to destroy the video evidence. Her reprehensible actions should disqualify her from having the privilege of serving the American people in government ever again, but apparently this President believes they merit a promotion. I could not disagree more.”