CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
Conservative groups and Republican foreign policy leaders are using Mike Pompeo's meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong-un to target red-state Democrats who are wavering on supporting Pompeo's confirmation as Secretary of State.
What they're saying: These groups argue that Pompeo's North Korea visit is a game changer, and that expediting his confirmation process is a major national security interest. They'll also argue that in rejecting Pompeo, who has already negotiated on behalf of the president for a planned meeting of the two leaders, these vulnerable senators are playing partisan politics instead of doing their job to protect the American people.
Who they're targeting: Red-state Senate Democrats such as Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Doug Jones (Ala.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Bob Casey (Pa.), and Joe Donnelly (Ind.).
- Between the lines: Conservative groups know that these red-state Democrats are exceptionally vulnerable ahead of the midterm elections, and voting against confirming Pompeo for State could further jeopardize their standing with Republican voters.
Who's behind the campaign:
- Former Staff Director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lester Munson, has released a statement saying the Senate should use Pompeo's trip as evidence that he's qualified for the position.
- Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief of Forbes, wrote on Twitter: "Mike Pompeo is already helping President Trump negotiate denuclearization of North Korea. Senate Dems should confirm him immediately as Secretary of State."
- Ken Blackwell, who headed Domestic Policy for Trump Transition, said on Twitter: "Now is not the time to play games. Mike Pompeo is doing vital work on behalf of the president working to de-nuke North Korea. He deserves your support as SoS."
- Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, on Twitter: "News that Mike Pompeo is already helping @POTUS negotiate peace for the Korean peninsula shows he has the trust & confidence of Pres. Trump! .... [Senate Democrats] should do the right thing & vote to #ConfirmPompeo!"
- Lt. General Jerry Boykin, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under George W. Bush, on Twitter: "#ConfirmMikePompeo! He is already demonstrating diplomacy and leadership that will continue to help the #President revitalize America’s position as leader of the free world."