McConnell to Support Ashton Carter’s Confirmation as Secretary of Defense

‘I intend to support Ash Carter’s confirmation. But my support is conditioned on this request: the incoming Secretary needs to have the courage to speak truth to power. To Congress, yes. But also to his Commander in Chief.’

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the confirmation vote of Ashton Carter to be Secretary of Defense:

“Later today, the Senate will consider the nomination of Ash Carter to be the next Secretary of Defense. If I could place one demand on him, it would be to leave his successor with our armed forces in a better position to deal with global threats than they are today.

“As I’ve noted in the past, the overall consequence of many of the President’s policies has been to weaken our ability to confront Al Qaeda and its affiliates, the Taliban, and associated groups. The President’s inflexible commitment to campaign promises made in 2008 has led to artificial deadlines for withdrawal from Afghanistan, a rushed withdrawal from Iraq, and executive orders to close Guantanamo and send detainees back home to places like Yemen and Afghanistan. It’s also led him to essentially end America’s ability to capture, detain, and interrogate terrorists, whether or not we were still at war with Al Qaeda.

“The truth is, Al Qaeda was at war with us before we went to war with them. And today, we face a diffuse and versatile threat from terrorists, with ISIL intent on striking America and its allies.

“The next Secretary of Defense needs to explain to the President that drawing down in Afghanistan based on an artificial deadline risks the gains we’ve made there. He needs to explain that the Haqqani network and the Taliban continue to threaten our ally.

“The next Secretary of Defense must do all he can to make the declaratory policy of pivoting to Asia a real one. Past drawdowns of conventional power and failures to modernize America’s force have encouraged foes and unsettled friends. So it’s time to invest in the platforms and the capabilities that will be needed to effectively address China’s military buildup.

“And the next Secretary must also support the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs when he provides his best military advice to the President — especially when that advice is ignored in the White House.

“Here in the Senate, I will do all I can to support the next Secretary.

“That starts today. I intend to support Ash Carter’s confirmation.

“But my support is conditioned on this request: the incoming Secretary needs to have the courage to speak truth to power.

“To Congress, yes.

“But also to his Commander in Chief.” 

Related Issues: War on Terror, ISIL, Al Qaeda, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, America's Military, China