Ten Republicans voted against Samantha Power yesterday to be our next ambassador to the United Nations as the Obama confidante’s nomination sailed through.
The 87-10 vote came just before the upper chamber left for the five-week August recess.
Power now moves into Susan Rice’s role at the world body with a sad track record of preventing atrocities; Power was the first leader of Obama’s Atrocities Prevention Board created in 2012.
Power called Hillary Clinton a “monster” during the 2008 campaign and had to step down from Obama’s team then, only to rejoin his transition team after his victory. Since then, she’s moved through positions at the State Department and National Security Council.
When she left her role as a special assistant to President Obama this February, the White House said it was so Power could spend more time with her two small kids. She is married to Obama’s former regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein; they met working on Obama’s first presidential campaign.
“I’m pleased that the Senate has confirmed Samantha Power as our next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations by a strong, bipartisan majority. As one of our country’s leading foreign policy thinkers, Samantha knows that our nation’s interests are advanced with strong and principled American leadership,” Obama said in a statement. “As a long-time champion of human rights and dignity, she will be a fierce advocate for universal rights, fundamental freedoms and U.S. national interests. I’m grateful that Samantha will continue to be a vital member of my national security team, and I know that under her leadership our U.N. Mission in New York will continue to represent American diplomacy at its best.”
Voting against Power were Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), David Vitter (R-La.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.).
Rubio said on the floor that he had concerns about her “unwillingness to directly answer questions” before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “that she is being appointed by a president whose foreign policy is fast becoming an utter and absolute failure,” and the desire to have “an advocate in New York who makes it their primary focus to ensure that the U.N. is more accountable, that it is more effective, and that it serves U.S. interests and is not just some multilateral ideal in which we invest all of our hopes.”
“The UN can play an important role in global affairs, but without reforms to ensure greater accountability and transparency, its ineffective leadership, ethical abuses, and misspending will remain rampant. While I appreciate Ms. Power’s willingness to serve our country at the United Nations, her responses regarding the need for these key reforms have been unsatisfactory when questioned during the hearing and in subsequent correspondence,” Rubio said after the vote. “It is critical that we be able to ensure that American taxpayer dollars going to the UN are actually advancing our national interests. Our Ambassador to the UN should consider this their top priority and support policies that are conducive to such reforms.”
“My opposition to her nomination comes down to one word: sovereignty,” Cruz said. “…In 2003, she wrote that ‘giving up a pinch of sovereignty’ to organizations such as the UN is good for the United States and our security.”