The Senate held hearings today on President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper.
Presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren (D-MA) use her time as an opportunity to demand Esper recuse himself from later working for defense contractor Raytheon when his term as Defense Secretary ends.
SENATOR WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Secretary Esper, prior to becoming Army Secretary, you were the top lobbyist for Raytheon, which of course is the nation’s third largest defense contractor.
Now, under current ethics rules, you’re prohibited from participating in any decisions involving Raytheon for two years after your appointment as Army Secretary. But because you have already been in government for 20 months, that recusal period is set to expire in November, which means you will soon be able to participate personally and substantially in matters involving your former employer. That’s a conflict of interest given that Raytheon does billions of dollars worth of business every year with the Defense Department.
So Secretary Esper, your predecessor, Acting Secretary Shanahan, committed to extend his recusal from all matters involving his former employer, Boeing, for the duration of his government service.
If you’re confirmed, will you do the same and commit to extending your recusal from any and all matters involving Raytheon for your — the duration of your tenure as Secretary of Defense?
Here’s the video of their exchange:
Esper refused to recuse himself from decisions regarding Raytheon once the terms of his current recusal ends in November.
After some back and forth between Sen. Warren and nominee Esper, the Massachusetts Senator said: This smacks of corruption, plain and simple.
Give me a minute to stop laughing.
Remember when Massachusetts Senator, multi-millionaire, and current presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, was outed for appropriating Native American status on an official government document for her personal financial benefit.
She later used that, or failed to correct those who did use that fact, to attain a privileged position on the faculty of Harvard.
A DNA test, that she took years later, showed she was, at most, 1/1024th Indian… maybe. This is not a good look for a staunch defender of affirmative action.
But her hypocrisy on putting restrictions on soon-to-be Defense Secretary Esper is even more stunning as Politico points out:
… “I have seen the senator and her team take a very active role in defense matters in Massachusetts,” said Joseph Donovan, a Boston-based defense lobbyist with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough and a former aide to then-Gov. Mitt Romney. “I’ve been in roundtables that her office has organized with major defense contractors and small businesses.”
The question for Warren is what differentiates her efforts on behalf of her favorite defense contractors and the Secretary of Defense’s need to be able to deal with one of the largest defense contractors in the country?
In May, Warren told Defense News:
“The coziness between defense lobbyists, Congress and the Pentagon — what former President Dwight D. Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex ― tilts countless decisions, big and small, away from legitimate national security interests and toward the desires of giant corporations that thrive off taxpayer dollars.”
Coziness that Sen. Warren is familiar with having accepted almost $107,000 from defense contractors, that she represents, since 2011.
Apparently, Warren only trusts herself to decide which contractors get government business and for what purposes. Input from the Secretary of Defense can only muddy her influence.
After all, she’s proven her trustworthiness in the past.