To the editor:
The food fights between the executive and legislative branches over presidential nominations are not new to Washington. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s ongoing spat with Sen. Bob Menendez (D- NJ) of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee over who’s to blame for stalled ambassador nominations is only the latest in the long back-and-forth between Congress and the ad-ministration of President Donald Trump over personnel.
But our own Sen. Tim Kaine has pushed senatorial advice and consent beyond wisdom.
David Schenker, a former Bush administration official now serving at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is the casualty of Kaine’s roadblock. Kaine has held up Schenker’s nomination as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs since he was nominated in April, and renominated last month. Schenker is eminently qualified for the position, and there exists no opposition to the candidacy itself. But Kaine is using his hold on Schenker’s nomination to needle the Trump Administration on its justification for the use of force in Syria this April.
Kaine’s block on Schenkerdoes him – and our policy – more harm than good. With the murder of a journalist causing an ongoing international crisis in Turkey andSaudi Arabia, Iran flexing its muscles in the Levant, the Syrian conflict reaching a critical stage and many ambassador posts still unfilled, we need the State Department fully staffed with competent experts to handle these challenges. This political maneuvering is unwise and harmful to American interests.
Stop with the food fight Sen. Kaine. It’s time to let David Schenker go.
-Jameson Cunningham, Americans for a Free Syria, Alexandria