Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) accused President Trump of valuing loyalty to him as the highest qualification just prior to his nominations of former Attorney General William Barr and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert for the roles of attorney general and United Nations ambassador.
When asked if she would support Nauert, she said she would have trouble backing the former Fox News host.
"I would have difficulty because there are those of us that care about people's experience and qualifications and I do not know that being loyal to the president is the uppermost qualification,” she said, claiming, “It is for the president, but it isn’t for me.”
William Barr and Heather Nauert are Trump's top choices for attorney general and UN ambassador, sources say.— New Day (@NewDay) December 7, 2018
Sen. @maziehirono: “I do not know that being loyal to the President is the uppermost qualification. It is for the President, but it isn’t for me.” https://t.co/jMmKwdkdii pic.twitter.com/SHQQtdckqY
“I think it shows that the president has great difficulty in finding people, not the people who are going to kowtow to him,” she added.
She also accused William Barr, former attorney general for the late George H.W. Bush, of “auditioning” for the role.
“Here’s another person who auditioned for the job by catching President Trump’s attention by talking about how Hillary Clinton should continue to be investigated and questioning the Mueller investigation,” she said of Barr.
She said the president “looks for people who are going to protect him who are going to cover for him.”
CNN’s John Berman argued Barr does already enjoy some bipartisan support, pointing out that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) praised him earlier this week.
Positive signal to Trump from a top Dem about the prospect of picking William Barr for attorney general.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 6, 2018
“I saw him yesterday at the funeral. He’s a man I’ve always respected," Patrick Leahy tells @tedbarrettcnn, adding that he "could" get "majority" of Senate R and D support
Berman also pointed out that Barr is someone “who has been confirmed before by the Senate.”
Hirono replied that “these are not normal times.”
“That’s true but on the other hand these are not normal times," she said. "What’s happening is we have a president who just cares about appointing people who are going to do his bidding and that’s not what we need as an attorney general.”