While most GOP senators are expected to vote against Loretta Lynch’s confirmation as attorney general, former AG Alberto Gonzales, who faced staunch partisan opposition to his own confirmation during President George W. Bush’s administration, tells National Review that it’s “high time” Lynch got a vote, and says Republicans are opposing Lynch for political, as opposed to substantive reasons.
Gonzales, who was in Washington, D.C., on Monday promoting the policy vision laid out in his book A Conservative and Compassionate Approach to Immigration Reform, says he remembers having quiet conversations with multiple Democratic senators about his looming confirmation before they lined up to vote against him.
“Before that vote, both Senator Leahy, Senator Schumer called me . . . and they both told me, ‘Listen, I’m going to vote against you, we’re going to vote against you, because you’re too close to the president. Nonetheless, we look forward to working with you; we know you’re going to be confirmed,’” Gonzales says.
“This really isn’t about Loretta Lynch or her qualifications but about other things, and at the end of the day, I’m sure there are these quiet conversations that are ongoing with her.”
As the Senate prepares to vote on Lynch as soon as this week, there are much louder conversations being had among conservatives who oppose Lynch’s confirmation because of her support for President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
Lynch has said that she believes Obama’s executive actions were constitutional, much to the consternation of Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions and other immigration hawks in the Senate. As they begin their presidential campaigns, Senators Ted Cruz (R., Texas), Rand Paul (R., Ky.), and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), are all expected to vote against Lynch because of her legal opinion on Obama’s immigration orders.
For his part, Gonzales says he understands the political calculus behind Republicans’ opposition to Lynch.
#related#“Congress has limited tools to deal with a recalcitrant president, they have limited tools, but one of the tools of course is blocking her confirmation,” he says. “Of course, Democrats don’t come at this with clean hands . . . ”
Nonetheless, Gonzales believes that even if Republicans are standing partly on principle in opposing Lynch, the president “is entitled to his team.”
“I think people forget that the attorney general, while he or she may be the chief law-enforcement officer in the country, is also part of the president’s team and I don’t think the president is going to nominate someone who goes against part of his policies,” he says.
The president seems likely to get his wish very soon: Even without support from Cruz, Paul, Rubio, and most other GOP senators, Lynch is expected to pick up enough stray Republican votes to be confirmed.