Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) accused the Democratic Party of unanimously opposing President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, because it would defeat “their narrative that Republicans don’t like women.”
“The Democrats hate Donald Trump and whatever it takes to defeat his agenda,” the Republican senator told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade late last week. “Democrats don’t want to see Republicans nominating women to such high positions because that defeats their narrative that Republicans don’t like women.”
Cassidy mentioned that Haspel has served under Democratic and Republican administrations. Under Trump’s predecessor, Haspel was the deputy director of the National Clandestine Service, which is responsible for overseeing the CIA’s secret operations.
“Obama kept her. As much as Obama said, ‘OK we can’t have these black sites,’ he kept her,” Cassidy said. “Which tells me, if you will, that the folks most sensitive to the issue thought that she was OK to keep on.”
In 2002, Haspel operated a black site in Thailand. It was believed she enabled prisoners there to be tortured. However, shortly after her nomination was announced, that reportedly was debunked.
Cassidy added, “Now all a sudden because she’s Trump appointee, she can’t be elevated?”
Haspel’s hearing is scheduled for May 9. With Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) already opposed and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) recovering from cancer treatment, Haspel will need at least one Democratic “aye” vote, assuming a tiebreaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence.
Correction: Previously, this story inaccurately labeled Gina Haspel as Director of the National Clandestine Service. We regret the error.