In a 49 to 45 vote that came down along party lines, the Senate voted Tuesday to confirm President Joe Biden’s pick for undersecretary of defense for policy, Fox News reported.
Colin Kahl was confirmed to the No. 3 civilian role in the U.S. Department of Defense despite concerns about his past social media posts. According to Fox, Kahl tweeted in 2019 that Republicans “debase themselves at the altar of Trump” and represent “the party of ethnic cleansing.”
Although that tweet was later taken down, another in which Kahl alleged that “we are going to die” with John Bolton as then-President Donald Trump’s national security adviser remains up on the newly minted Biden official’s Twitter profile.
Addressing his statements in a Senate hearing, Kahl admitted: “The last few years have been pretty polarizing on social media and I’m sure there are times that I got swept up in that.”
“That did not happen”
But as Fox noted, Kahl’s social media posts aren’t the only things that earned him the ire of Republicans. Many in the GOP also took issue with his stance on Iran, as well as his support for former President Barack Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal with the Middle Eastern nation.
“You said that ending the Iran deal might lead to war, and that did not happen,” Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) charged during Kahl’s confirmation hearing, according to Fox.
“You said the [Qassem] Soleimani strike would force the United States out of Iraq. That did not happen,” Inhofe added. “You wrote that it would be ‘difficult” to prevent a ‘massive war’ on the Korean peninsula in 2018. That did not happen.”
The Republican went on: “You said that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem would harm relations with Arab states, and, in fact, Arab-Israeli relations have never been better.”
“Decisions about life and death”
According to Politico, Inhofe also complained that Kahl didn’t have the support of a single Republican in his bid for the role, a change from the historical norm. Still, the Oklahoma lawmaker promised to “work in good faith” with the new Defense official.
“The undersecretary of defense for policy position has always, until now, received bipartisan support during the confirmation process,” Inhofe said this week, as Politico reported. “That Dr. Kahl did not garner a single Republican vote — that is really saying something.”
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (R) also had complaints about Kahl, who he said failed to anticipate the rise of ISIS in the Middle East. “Dr. Kahl, it seems to me that your judgments about matters of war and peace are almost always wrong,” Cotton said this week, according to Fox.
Turning back to Kahl’s social media posts, Cotton added later: “If this is the way you respond to mere policy disagreements when you’re sitting at home reading the news, I do not think that you’re fit to sit in the Pentagon and make decisions about life and death. That’s one reason why I’ll oppose your nomination.”