On Monday, Gina Haspel became the first female director of the CIA. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders used Monday's swearing-in ceremony to shame Democrats for waging a war on women - an attack line often used on Republicans.
Historic day for our country: swearing-in ceremony for Gina Haspel, the first woman ever to serve as CIA director. Democrats are losing their war against women in the Trump administration.— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) May 21, 2018
Others made the same observation. Because Haspel was promoted to the historic post by a Republican president, she probably won't receive her due recognition.
Glass ceiling shattered, but oops, wrong party. https://t.co/v9YCXFBO4E— Erielle Davidson (@politicalelle) May 21, 2018
Top Democrats (and some Republicans) protested Haspel's nomination because of her role in President Bush's enhanced interrogation program following the September 11 attacks. The Senate Intelligence Committee grilled her about her role in torture at her confirmation hearings. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who was tortured as a POW in Vietnam, came out in opposition to her nomination. But, after Haspel pledged multiple times not to restart the interrogation program, a handful of Democrats joined Republicans to give her their blessing and confirmed her by a vote of 54 to 45.
Former CIA officials, even some who worked under President Obama, defended Haspel and her years' worth of experience. Former CIA Director John Brennan is no fan of Trump, yet he too praised the president's nominee.
Senators: Show that you put country above politics. Gina Haspel is a competent, experienced, & highly qualified intelligence professional. Ask her tough questions, listen to her answers, & then decide but don’t penalize her for previous policy decisions or because DT picked her.— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) May 7, 2018
At Monday's ceremony, President Trump commended Haspel for her bravery and noted that she is widely respected.
"It took courage for her to say ‘yes’ in the face of a lot of very negative politics and what was supposed to be a negative vote," Trump noted.
For her to be the first woman to lead the agency, "that's big."
Honored to swear in Gina Haspel as @CIA director at this morning’s ceremony with @POTUS. With her leadership and unparalleled experience, she will help protect our nation and put the safety and security of the American people first. pic.twitter.com/fVV7hS5NCm— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 21, 2018