Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said if Dr. Ronny Jackson wishes to proceed with his nomination as VA secretary, the Senate’s VA committee should allow the process to move forward.
“I’m not on the Veterans Affairs committee. So I think we ought to trust the folks that run the Veterans Affairs committee. Senator Isakson is the chair, Senator Tester is the ranking — And let them go through a confirmation process if Dr. Jackson chooses to go ahead,” Coons said Wednesday on CNN’s “New Day.”
Coons criticized the Trump administration for nominating people who had limited experience in government or business to run major agencies. He specifically targeted former Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson.
“My larger concern here is about a number of people who have been nominated not because of their qualifications, but because of their closeness to President Trump or because of his goals,” Coons continued. “Our HUD secretary, for example, had zero experience in public housing … He might be a good brain surgeon, but he had no relevant experience.”
Coons claimed Democrats are not obstructing President Donald Trump, but merely insisting on a stricter vetting process for his cabinet choices.
“It’s not that we’re obstructionists,” he said. “I think it’s that we’re insisting that when people who have no relevant qualifications are nominated for senior positions like Secretary of Education or Secretary of HUD, we’d like there to be a full confirmation process so we know what we’re taking up.”
Coons said Jackson should be the one to decide whether or not he withdraws his nomination for VA secretary but thinks it will be a difficult confirmation battle either way.
“I think that’s something [Jackson’s] going to have to decide,” he concluded. “Thorough aggressive confirmation hearings are not new.”
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