Senate Minority Leader and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer just used Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s own words against him in an effort to stop Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks from being forced into office.
The issues that Schumer and his Democratic colleagues have with the soon to be held Trump Cabinet confirmation hearings are the same issues that McConnell and his Republican colleagues raised with Obama’s picks to fill his Cabinet after winning re-election in 2012.
At present, however, the Republican leadership of the U.S. Senate — meaning McConnell — is far from concerned with honoring Senate Democrats’ requests.
And what Schumer and his colleagues are asking for isn’t outrageous.
Rather, what’s prompting Schumer’s concerns is that some of Trump’s Cabinet picks haven’t had complete ethics checks completed on them by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE). It’s the OGE’s responsibility to vet any potential conflicts of interest that could arise from Cabinet nominee’s business connections.
With Trump’s inner circle full of millionaires and billionaires, there’s plenty to be worried about in terms of any number of people having money whispered in their ears while they make policy decisions.
Thus, the stage is set for Schumer to send to McConnell a copy of the letter that the sitting Senate Majority Leader himself sent in 2012 to then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
A copy of the letter, as posted to Schumer’s Twitter account, and with Mitch McConnell’s information unceremoniously scratched out and replaced with Schumer’s, is featured below.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 9, 2017
Nine of Trump’s Cabinet picks have confirmation hearings scheduled for this week.
The four that still haven’t delivered evidence that appropriate financial background checks were completed on them to the Senate include:
- Ret. Marine Gen. John Kelly, Trump’s choice for Secretary of Homeland Security
- Ben Carson, Trump’s choice for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
- Wilbur Ross, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Commerce
- Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education
The five Trump Cabinet picks that have reportedly had evidence that appropriate financial background checks were completed on them delivered to the U.S. Senate include:
- Rex Tillerson, Trump’s pick for Secretary of State
- Alabama’s U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump’s choice for U.S. Attorney General
- Kansas’s U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, Trump’s pick for CIA Head
- Ret. Marine Gen. James Mattis, Trump’s choice for Secretary of Defence
- Elaine Chao, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Transportation
McConnell has claimed, as he was quoted in The Hill as saying, “that no nominee would get a full Senate vote before all of their paperwork has been turned in.”
Such a claim, however, does not satisfy Schumer’s demand that confirmation proceedings stop for every nominee that hasn’t yet had their ethics background check completed. Confirmation hearings begin in the relevant Senate committee before moving on to the full Senate vote that McConnell mentioned.
Featured Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images.