The reaction is pouring out, with non-Voinovich Republicans tepidly embracing Bush’s decisions, and Democrats strongly criticizing it. The Washington Post has a round up.
Senator Biden’s statement hits most of the key points:
BIDEN “DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED” IN BOLTON RECESS APPOINTMENT
WASHINGTON, DC Ã¢â‚¬â€œ U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement.
“Sending John Bolton to the U.N. behind the Senate’s back is a mistake is every respect. The reason John Bolton didn’t get a vote in the Senate is because the administration refused to provide information to which no one disputes the Senate is entitled. This is not the intended use of the President’s recess power Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it’s an abuse of that power. A recess appointment is appropriate when the Senate is unable to act, or unwilling to act. It’s not appropriate when the administration is acting in bad faith.”
“Mr. Bolton does not have the full confidence of the U.S. Senate. This recess appointment will hurt our nation’s interests and hinder Mr. Bolton’s effectiveness.” Since the UN’s founding in 1945, the United States has sent 24 ambassadors to the UN. Not one has been recess appointed.
“We know that John Bolton repeatedly tried to stretch intelligence and to remove intelligence analysts who disagreed with him. We know he was not fully forthcoming during the confirmation process.” Just last week the State Department admitted that Mr. Bolton failed to disclose key information about having been interviewed by the Inspector General regarding the intelligence failures in Iraq.
“After all we’ve been through in Iraq with the misuse of intelligence by policymakers, promoting Mr. Bolton sends exactly the wrong message. More than ever, we need someone who can stand up and make the case about North Korea or Iran’s nuclear aspirations. We need someone who has credibility with the international community and Americans can trust. That is not John Bolton.”
Senator Biden also expressed disappointment in the President’s statement today. “Mr. Bolton was not held up by ‘partisan delaying tactics by a handful of senators.’ 44 senators objected to giving Mr. Bolton a vote until the administration gave the Senate information to which it was entitled — hardly a handful. One of Mr. Bolton’s leading opponents was my Republican colleague, Sen. George Voinovich — hardly a partisan flame thrower.”
Senator Biden strongly disputed the notion that Mr. Bolton is critical to the important effort to reform the UN, noting that just four days after Mr. Bolton’s nomination was announced, the administration appointed someone else — Dr. Shirin Tahir-Kheli — to do that job.
Senator Biden expressed the hope that when this temporary assignment expires, the President will send the Senate a more credible nominee. The Constitution says that recess appointments shall “expire at the end of” the next congressional session. Therefore, Mr. Bolton’s temporary assignment ends the day the 2nd session of the 109th Congress adjourns, which is likely to be October of 2006.
I would like to hear the reaction of Rexon Ryu, Fulton Armstrong, Christian Westermann, Charles Prtichard, Carl Ford, Tom Hubbard, John Wolf, Larry Gershwin… the list goes on.
— Dave Meyer