CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation. The senator sat down with moderator Margaret Brennan earlier this week to discuss the nomination of Mike Pompeo to serve as secretary of state, President Donald J. Trump’s decision to accept an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the Iran nuclear deal, and other news of the day. Excerpts follow.
On the nomination of Mike Pompeo to serve as secretary of state:
“It's my sense that [Mike] Pompeo is much more aligned with the president. And so I think one of the questions he’ll get…during the hearing process, is just ensuring that he's going to be giving honest assessments and that full range of options to the president as decisions are being made. My sense is, though, they will get along. They will move much more fully together as they move down the path on foreign policy.”
On confirmation of a secretary of state by May:
“I hope that's the case, but we'll see…[W]e have 21 members, and so it takes 11. And we have one member who said they would oppose him. There were two Democrats who voted for [Mike] Pompeo on the floor, who are members of the committee, for CIA.”
Last week, Corker announced that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expects to hold a hearing on the Pompeo nomination in April.
On the future of the Iran nuclear deal:
“The Iran deal will be another issue that's coming up in May, and right now it doesn’t feel like it’s going to be extended. I think the president likely will move away from it, unless our European counterparts really come together on a framework [to strengthen the agreement]. And it doesn’t feel to me that they are. Now, as we get within two weeks of the May 12th date, that could change.”
On a meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un:
“I think ultimately it happens. I do. You've already…seen the administration sort of move away from an instant meeting. They've said that…they don't know exactly when it's going to occur…I think you're seeing that happen because the realities of what you have to do in preparation to make sure that it’s successful. It takes a while for that to occur.”
On Rex Tillerson’s service as secretary of state:
“I think he knows he's laid the groundwork for North Korea. He feels like he's moved things along in a good way. [He] wants to have a very good transition with [Mike] Pompeo. He's a class act in that regard. So I think he's at peace. I think he obviously wanted to stay a year. He moved beyond that. I think he was planning to be here this entire year also to make it two, but, look, I think he feels like he served his country well.”