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Hawley says he will step down as nominated State and Defense Secretary unless Blinken and Austin retire after Afghanistan exit

Hawley says he will step down as nominated State and Defense Secretary unless Blinken and Austin retire after Afghanistan exit

The Missouri Republican told CNN that his holdings will apply to any civilian nominee at the deputy and secretary level as well as ambassadors.

This move would force Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to take the time-consuming procedural steps required to advance many uncontroversial nominees. And with scarce floor time, it may be enough to indefinitely delay any number of nominees that would normally be quickly confirmed by ballot.

Hawley spoke earlier Tuesday on the Senate floor and demanded that President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, also step down, claiming that “the failure of these people, the failure of this administration, has cost Americans their lives and left American civilians hostile.”

“There has to be accountability, and then there has to be a fresh start,” he said.

CNN has contacted the White House for comment. The senator’s threat is likely to cause concern in the Biden administration, which has already been slow to announce some important nominations and has not yet confirmed ambassadors installed in key countries such as China, India, France or Israel.

Senate Foreign Relations President Bob Menendez on Tuesday taunted Hawley’s plans and accused his fellow senator of endangering US national security.

“It would undermine U.S. national security and its interests,” said Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat. “That would be a brilliant idea on behalf of Senator Hawley.”

But Hawley pushed back on the idea that his move would jeopardize national security efforts and told CNN that his concern, among other things, was that the 13 U.S. service members were killed in a terrorist attack in Afghanistan last month when troops ran for to evacuate Americans and vulnerable Afghans.

“I’m worried that hundreds of American civilians were left behind by enemy lines and are still there. And I’m worried that the President of the United States said it was an extraordinary success … I can not think of another example in American history, when a commander-in-chief has celebrated that kind of disaster as a success, “the senator said.” He should resign. “

Among the people who could be caught in Hawley’s plans are Scott Miller, an LGBTQ rights activist and philanthropist, whom Biden nominated last month to become the next US ambassador to Switzerland, and Rahm Emanuel, Biden’s choice to be ambassador to Japan.
The threat could also complicate the confirmation process for Melissa Dalton, Biden’s choice to be Assistant Secretary of State for Homeland Defense and Global Security Affairs at the Department of Defense, and a host of other State Department nominees, including David Cohen to be the US Ambassador to Canada, Karen Donfried to to be Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs and Anne Witkowsky to be Assistant Secretary for Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

The Senate on Monday confirmed three nominees in the State Department: Donald Lu for Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Brett Holmgren for Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research and Brian Nichols for Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere.

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