State Lawmakers Urge Rejection of Militaristic, Conflict-Ridden Nominees

A coalition of progressive state lawmakers from around the country on Monday sent a letter to Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), demanding the U.S. Senate only confirm cabinet nominees “who have an established record of respecting the importance of diplomacy and other tools of statecraft over the unnecessary use of force, respecting civil liberties, placing American interests over personal interests, and upholding our sacred tradition of a civilian-led government.”

The letter was organized by the legislative arm of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), a Cambridge-based grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to amplifying women’s voices in national security, disarmament, and anti-militarization campaigns. Signed by 125 female and male state legislators, the letter has the backing of groups including the Arms Control Association, Global Zero, National Priorities Project, Peace Action, and Win Without War.

It calls for nominees to be “evaluated around five principles core to maintaining American strength abroad and at home”:

  • We urge you to oppose nominees who see war and conflict as the best or only means to defend America’s interests.
  • We urge you to oppose nominees who seek to maintain or increase the number of nuclear weapons in the world, rather than support policies of nonproliferation, reduction, and eventual elimination.
  • We urge you to oppose nominees who would undermine the civil liberties of the American people enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.
  • We urge you to oppose nominees whose personal or professional interests might conflict, or have the perception of conflict, with the interests of the public they serve.
  • While we strongly respect the experience and credentials of our military’s active and retired generals, we urge you to oppose nominees who would undermine the core American philosophy of civilian leadership.

From the selection of multiple military generals for top positions in his administration to the abundant conflicts of interest among his wealthy cabinet nominees, it appears President-elect Donald Trump has been using a different rubric—and that’s not even taking into account Trump’s own recent statements advocating a nuclear arms race.

The letter does not name any of Trump’s nominees specifically, but an accompanying press release pointed to picks like Rex Tillerson (for secretary of state), Jeff Sessions (for attorney general), and Rick Perry (for energy secretary) as among those who might not fit the bill.