Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has blocked Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) trip to Honduras slated to begin Friday, according to DeMint’s office.
But the chairman’s office claimed that the DeMint trip was stopped because the South Carolina Republican is blocking two of President Barack Obama’s nominations: Auturo [sic] Valenzuela, Obama’s nominee to be assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Tom Shannon, the current assistant secretary and nominee to be ambassador to Brazil.
Political blackmail, barefaced tit-for-tat, “do what I say or else”, call it what you may, but Kerry’s totally open about it:
Kerry spokesman Frederick Jones responded Thursday evening that “Senator DeMint’s statement wins an A for ‘audacity.’”
“The Foreign Relations Committee always prefers to operate in a bi-partisan and collegial fashion, and it did so when it approved these two nominees by votes of 14 to 4 for Mr. Shannon and 15 to 4 for Mr. Valenzuela,” Jones told The Hill in a statement. “But now Sen. DeMint refuses to let the nominations of two distinguished public servants even be considered on the floor of the Senate.”
“When Senator DeMint lifts these holds and allows these individuals to receive an up or down vote on the Senate floor, the Committee will approve his travel to Honduras, a country that is in the middle of delicate, political crisis.”
If the crisis is that delicate, why doesn’t Kerry himself go? Can his support of Zelaya bear no scrutiny?
Follow-up post, Friday 2 October
DeMint’s trip to Honduras is on