Warren Loses It After Defense Secretary Nominee Stands Up to Her

I love Senate confirmation hearings, if just because it lets us listen to lawmakers preening in order to generate video clips for donor emails. This angry preening gets turbocharged when the senator involved is running for president, usually making for double the entertainment.
That’s why defense secretary nominee Mark Esper’s Tuesday hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee didn’t disappoint.
Esper was already facing a substantial amount of grilling over conflicts of interest that might be created by his time as a lobbyist with defense contractor Raytheon between 2010 and 2017. This is in spite of the fact he’s signed a screening agreement that disallows him from dealing with issues that involve Raytheon unless he obtains a waiver.
Even with this controversy, Task and Purpose described the hearing as mostly “sleepy.” However, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is running for president and needs some donor clips, so things woke up in a hurry when she got to Raytheon.
Unfortunately for Warren, she’s probably not going to be able to use the full video in any of her donor emails, at least unless she wants to show her supporters a moment where she loses her composure in a Senate committee room — and Esper getting the better of the exchange.
The kerfuffle began because Warren wasn’t happy that Esper was allowed to request a waiver to deal with issues involving Raytheon and hadn’t entered a more stringent ethics agreement as opposed to a screening agreement.
In the midst of plenty of crosstalk, Warren had said repeatedly that the American people “deserve to know that you’re making decisions in our country’s best interest, not in your own financial interest.”
Esper, when he managed to get in a word over Warren, struck back, describing his career of service to America. It’s important to note that the West Point graduate is a veteran of the 1991 Iraq War who is already serving as Army secretary as well as acting secretary of defense.
“At the age of 18, I went to West Point, and I swore an oath to defend this Constitution, and I embraced the motto called duty, honor and country,” Esper said.
“And I have lived my life in accordance to those values ever since then. I went to war for this country, I have served overseas for this country, I have stepped down from jobs that have paid me well more than when I was working anywhere else.
“And each time it was to serve the public good and to serve the young men and women in our armed services. So no, I disagree. I think the presumption is for some reason, anybody who comes from the business or the corporate world is corrupt.”
That answer didn’t suit Warren at all. She immediately began to quarrel with committee Chairman Sen. James Inhofe, trying to get more time to respond to Esper’s response. When her histrionics were rebuffed, she hammed it up by cutting off her microphone with a disgusted, “this is outrageous.”
Check out the exchange here. Esper’s response starts about the 6:30 mark.

Well, at least we can be sure Esper clearly hasn’t been wasting his time watching Warren’s 2020 stump speeches. The presumption that anything to do with private business is corrupt is pretty much at the heart of most of what the Massachusetts senator bangs on about.
She was also banging on about the Raytheon connection before the hearing, mind you. In a letter sent to Esper on Monday, Warren expressed concerns about his job with the defense contractor — concerns which just so happened to coincide with legislation she’s introduced in the Senate! What a surprise!
“I am concerned by the cozy relationship between giant defense contractors, the DoD and the White House, which is precisely why I introduced the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act, which would ban you from working at DoD for six years after lobbying for Raytheon, and the DoD Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act,” she wrote.
“When I questioned you during your November 2017 Senate Armed Service Committee nomination hearing to serve as Secretary of the Army, I had ample reason for concern over your Raytheon conflicts. While you ‘oversaw all [lobbyists’] activities across all services’ at Raytheon, the company paid you handsomely, including deferred compensation valued over $1 million that will pay out after 2022, to advance their interests at the DoD, in Congress, and at the White House.”
That ample concern apparently wasn’t so ample that she bothered to note that the $1 million was already earned, mind you, but whatever. This is Warren’s M.O.: She sees a conspiracy whenever someone from private life enters government. And she’s willing to question a man who served his country in the Gulf War and ask if he can put patriotism over profit. As Esper pointed out, he’s already done so throughout his career.
When his turn to question Esper came, Florida Sen. Rick Scott, himself a Navy veteran, nailed Warren’s remarks perfectly.
“I guess she needed a moment for her presidential campaign,” he told Espers.
Warren was almost certainly playing to the cameras when she ended her remarks with, “this is outrageous.”

I’d agree with the outrageous part. But not in the way she intended it.
Warren Loses It After Defense Secretary Nominee Stands Up to Her Warren Loses It After Defense Secretary Nominee Stands Up to Her Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 08:43 Rating: 5

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