July 20, 2017

Corker Opening Statement at Nominations Hearing for U.S. Ambassadorships

Nominees for NATO, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy and Singapore Testify Before Foreign Relations Committee

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today delivered the following remarks at a hearing on nominations for U.S. ambassadorships. The nominees included Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) to be ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Kelly Craft to be ambassador to Canada, Robert Wood Johnson IV to be ambassador to the United Kingdom, Lewis Eisenberg to be ambassador to Italy and San Marino, and K.T. McFarland to be ambassador to Singapore.

“I think we have an extremely distinguished panel here today. I'm glad that all of you are here together, and I appreciate your desire to serve our country in the way that you have.

“We're going to consider, as we all know, the nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Canada, our single largest trading partner as of May 2017.

“Throughout the Cold War and to this day, Canada has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States through North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD. 

“Canada’s military is an important NATO partner, and we have close intelligence-sharing and law enforcement ties.

“Canada values its relationship with the United States, and we value our very close relationship with our neighbor to the north. This week, Prime Minister Trudeau joined Vice President Pence in speaking to the U.S. National Governors Association.

“Canada also supports working with the U.S. and Mexico to update the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“We will also have a conversation with our nominee to be the U.S. permanent representative to NATO.

“NATO faces the threat of an increasingly antagonistic Russia, which has occupied the Crimean and eastern regions of Ukraine, a country once considered a contender for NATO membership.

“NATO has increased its deployments in the Baltic region in recent months due to fears of a potential clash with Russia there.

“Both NATO itself and its individual member states are members of the U.S.-led coalition conducting air strikes against ISIS.

“Maintaining a strong NATO depends not just on the United States but on all members meeting their commitments on defense. And we thank you for being here to do that.

“We will look at the nominee to be ambassador to the United Kingdom as well, one of the United States’ most critical allies. 

“The bilateral U.S.-U.K. relationship has grown into a global network of military, intelligence, and trade partnerships that together fight terrorism, resist Russian aggression, and drive economic growth.

“The United Kingdom has not just deployed its military beside ours, it has helped us build the international framework that includes the United Nations and NATO. Our countries work together with these institutions to help make the world a safer and more prosperous place. And we thank you for being here.

“We will also have a chance to engage the nominee to be ambassador to Italy, where we also have positive and strong relations.

“Italy is now on the U.N. Security Council and continues to play a key role in European and Mediterranean security policy. We thank you for being here.

“Lastly, we will consider the nominee to Singapore. Singapore is one of our strongest security partners in Southeast Asia and plays rotational host to the U.S. naval vessels operating in the region. 

“Singapore is also a key economic and trading partner for the United States in the region. Our strategic partnership is vital to maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. We thank you for being here.

“I really am elated that all of you are here together. I think you're going do an outstanding job for our nation. I know you're honored to be nominated to these positions.”

Click here for complete testimony and video footage of the hearing.

###