The recent shakeup in President Donald Trump's Cabinet has opened the door for Democrats to try to block his latest picks, Politico is reporting.
Trump has nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He has selected Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo at the agency. And now, there are mounting questions whether the two will be confirmed by the Senate where the GOP has a 51-49 edge.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has already announced his opposition to the two nominees and fellow Republican Sen. John McCain has been back in his home state of Arizona undergoing treatment for brain cancer.
Politico said Trump will need some Democratic backing to get his picks confirmed. Even though Pompeo was initially confirmed for the CIA post with some Democrat support, he is expected to face a tougher time for the State Department post, Politico reported.
And it does not appear to be any easier for Haspel.
"Both of them have serious questions to answer and neither confirmation is a sure thing," Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told Politico.
And Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said he expects strong opposition from the Democrats on both nominees.
"I'd be surprised if they didn't" block the two nominees, he said. "Sen. Schumer is pretty clear that he's trying to slow us down. And again, it may not be (over) the nominee themselves. It's purely a tactic to prevent us from doing our work here."
Earlier this week, Trump appeared to warn Democrats about blocking his nominations in general. And he accused Democrats of "obstruction."
"Many important positions in government are unfilled because of this obstruction," he said in a tweet. "Worst in U.S. history."
But the White House still remains optimistic about both nominations, Politico noted.
"I think Democrats make a show out of both of them," one White House official said, predicting eventual confirmation of Pompeo.
"Democrats are well aware that they could get a much less agreeable appointee in the Trump administration, someone that doesn't have the credentials he does," the person said. "I think they're going to make a scene of it, but they're going to take him."
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