(CNSNews.com) - The White House disputed the notion Thursday that President Donald Trump’s decision to replace his secretary of state and CIA director as well as showing his personal assistant the door prior to meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un creates the air of chaos and instability.
“I certainly don’t think there are any vulnerabilities here. The president wants to make sure that he has the right people in the right places for the right time as we move forward into this year. We’ve had an incredibly successful year,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
“The results of the last year don’t lie, and as we look at new successes that we’re focused on, the president wants to make sure he has the right people in those places. For instance like Director Pompeo and Deputy Director Gina Haspel that he’s nominated to lead the CIA,” she added.
When asked when those changes will end, Sanders said, “As you move through an administration, you have different priorities that you’re focused on and different people that are going to lead those efforts and lead those priorities, so you may have changes from time to time. The president is committed though to making sure he has the right people in the right place at the right time.”
As far as criticism from Capitol Hill on Haspel’s involvement with the CIA’s black site operations in the early 2000s is concerned, Sanders said, “The president is incredibly proud of his nominee. She is highly qualified, highly recommended, highly respected from both sides of the aisle, particularly within the intelligence community.
“I would point you to some people that are not usually those who often sing praises of the president like Leon Panetta, James Clapper, and others where they have publicly shown broad support for his nominee,” Sanders added.
When asked for Trump’s response to Democrats who voted for Pompeo to be confirmed as CIA director but are now saying they’re rethinking it, Sanders said, “I think it sounds like Democrats are trying to play political games with their national security and certainly with our diplomatic efforts, which would be a sad, sad day and a disgrace to this country and a question that every reporter should ask Democrats, what made them change their minds.”
As CNSNews.com reported, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he’s a firm “no” on both nominations, opposing Pompeo for wanting regime change in Iran and for his support for “enhanced interrogations” and Haspel for her record on torture, including running a CIA “black site” in Thailand.
When asked whether Paul is playing political games as well as the Democrats who oppose Pompeo’s and Haspel’s nominations, Sanders said, “I think the point specific to the question that was being asked - people that had supported Director Pompeo already through the confirmation process. Look, we have two incredibly skilled very highly qualified individuals that to lead these two agencies. We’re very proud of these nominees and fully expect them to be confirmed.”
When asked whether Paul’s language disturbs the White House about the nominees, Sanders replied, “Certainly, as I just said, these are two highly qualified and highly skilled, highly recommended individuals that should be confirmed, and we expect that they are. I was referencing a specific question about the hypocrisy of the support for Director Pompeo and previous processes.”