Tensions were high on the Senate floor Friday afternoon when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer appeared to go back on his word and delay the vote to confirm Mike Pompeo as CIA director. Republicans accused him of lying and demanded he stick by his words. The tension reached its peak when Sen. Tom Cotton approached Schumer and told him exactly what he thought of his political delay. The Weekly Standard first reported on the fiery exchange. Here's how it apparently went down.
Cotton angrily confronted Schumer about his broken promise. According to witnesses, Schumer told Cotton to lower his voice and asked him move off of the Senate floor to an adjacent hallway for a private discussion. "We need to take this out into the hallway," Schumer said. Cotton walked with Schumer but loudly rejected his first request. "Don't tell me to lower my voice!" he shouted, with an additional salty admonition tacked on for emphasis. Burr and Cornyn were present, as was Senator Mark Warner, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and several aides.
Schumer told Cotton that the Senate had never previously confirmed a CIA director on Inauguration Day and if Cotton had been around eight years earlier, he'd know that Republicans didn't extend that courtesy for incoming president Barack Obama. "Eight years ago, I was getting my ass shot at in Afghanistan," Cotton snapped. "So don't talk to me about where I was 8 years ago."
Wow. This may another contender for comeback of the year.
Shortly after The Weekly Standard published their report, they obtained video of the exchange in question. In the video, you can clearly see Cotton and Schumer pointing their fingers accusedly at one another.
This isn't where the controversy ends. When one social media user got wind of Cotton's behavior, he tweeted that Cotton too was once guilty of stalling the nomination process.
You filibustered the nomination of someone who had leukemia until she died and admitted you did it to cause Barack Obama personal pain. https://t.co/478nD2BdYA— Brian Murphy (@Burrite) January 23, 2017
The National Review was quick to defend Cotton from such a serious charge, noting there's no proof that he ever held up the nomination in order to cause "special pain" to the president.
The Senate did eventually vote to confirm Pompeo on Monday.