Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) had a tense exchange with President Trump's defense secretary nominee Mark Esper during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Warren didn't shy away from Esper's association with defense contractor Raytheon, where the Army secretary worked as a lobbyist. Warren seemed miffed when Esper would not commit to extending his recusal from issues involving Raytheon for his entire tenure at the Pentagon. He also refused to pledge not to seek employment in the defense industry for four years after leaving the government.
Defense sec. nominee Esper challenges Sen. Warren on her questioning about his defense industry work, saying that he has lived his life by the motto “Duty. Honor. Country.”
That said, Committee Chair Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) drew extra attention to the tension, even apologizing to Esper "for what you had to be confronted with. It was unfair and you handled it beautifully." For what it's worth, Esper seemed less affronted than Inhofe.
I mean, Warren was aggressive and a little rude not letting Esper give a full answer, but no more than any other senator can be. Inhofe seems to be living up to his self-proclaimed role of facilitator to the Pentagon, instead of defending her duty to a line of fair questioning.
No one else apologized to Esper, but other Republicans on the committee were critical of Warren, as well. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said Warren just "needed a moment" for her 2020 presidential campaign, while Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said that she was "casually" using words like corruption "to get a little stink" on Esper, who said he has never been accused of corruption. Tim O'Donnell