GOP senators oppose choice of nominee for Iraq envoy
June 14th, 2012
04:14 AM ET

GOP senators oppose choice of nominee for Iraq envoy

By the CNN Wire Staff

Six Republican senators are recommending Brett McGurk's name be withdrawn from consideration for the Iraq ambassador post a week after racy e-mails emerged suggesting he allegedly had an affair with a reporter.

"Recent information has surfaced to call into question the prudence of moving forward with the nominee at this time," said the letter to President Barack Obama signed by six GOP members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"As members of the Committee, with the responsibility of providing advice and consent, we write to respectfully urge you to reconsider this nomination. There are strong concerns about Mr. McGurk's qualifications, his ability to work with Iraqi officials, and now his judgment."

The letter sent Wednesday was singed by Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Mike Lee of Utah, James Risch of Idaho and James Inhofe of Oklahoma.

The e-mails were posted online anonymously last week, first on photo-sharing site Flickr and then on the blog Cryptome. The messages are purportedly from 2008 between Brett McGurk, a top adviser on Iraq to then-President George W. Bush, and reporter Gina Chon. The pair later married.

CNN has not independently authenticated the e-mails.

Chon resigned Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal said.

White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said Obama stands by the nominee.

"I would simply say that we believe that the United States will be greatly served by Mr. McGurk's experience in Iraq, which is substantial," Carney said.

Carney said the issue is more about a difference of opinion on war strategy rather than opinions on McGurk.

"There are some who believe we should still be at war in Iraq. There are some who believe the president should not have ended U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq. The president simply disagrees," Carney said.

McGurk was married to another woman in 2006, but it is not clear whether he was still married at the time of his alleged 2008 e-mail exchanges with Chon.

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Filed under: Congress • Iraq
soundoff (38 Responses)
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  9. M.D.

    I don't care about this guy's affairs anymore than I would care about my Cardiothoracic surgeon's affairs. So long as he does his job. The other issues are between him and his wife. This is where 'conservatives' trip all over themselves. Stay out of people's personal lives so long as they are not breaking the law.

    June 15, 2012 at 7:43 am | Reply
  10. Person of Interest

    Why does cheating on your wife make you ineligible for Iraqi envony but not for US Senator?

    June 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  11. carlos

    why is the demon vitter still in the senate????...

    June 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  12. MicheleG

    Wonder what the "truth" would be if all (ALL!) partisan politics could be removed from the issue?

    I have no loyalty to either party but I automatically dismiss the allegations and tantrum JUST because they come from ALL of one party. If there was a "party mix" then the accusations would have greater credibility. As it is this just smells of pomposity, hubris, and a whiny playground tantrum.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  13. Rick 7809

    Gee, Rethuglicans not supporting a proposed appointment by the President, who would have thought.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Reply
  14. bcrunner

    What bothers me is that he was possibly willing to give her access to information. They were not married when they had the affair!! Here is Obama appointing a guy who worked in Iraq during the Bush administration and some people are going nuts.

    June 14, 2012 at 11:57 am | Reply
    • Person of Interest

      Ever heard "a source within the DoD [or insert any other Department] stated" in news article? Only several thousand here. This happens all the time and not all of them are banging the reporter (if so I picked the wrong profession)! Even classified stuff gets leaked so besides the fact that you can't prove he gave any information away (besides his email address) people are wanting him to not be appointed.

      This is pure politics. You only hold up minor nominees (and yes this one is minor) if you are holding them in the hold to horse trade. Major ones, those that can actually have an impact on policy (ie. Justices, State, Defense, Attorney General, etc), sure those can be held up under principle. Iraqi Envoy? That's slightly less important than the envoy to Swizterland. Simply because Iraq and Afghanistan Diplomacy are still overwhelming ran by Obama, Clinton, and Panetta. The Iraq envoy might as well be a messager with a telephone.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  15. Pander Bear

    "We are outraged by this man's moral failings!" – signed, Diaper Dave Vitter, Larry "Wide Stance" Craig, and John "Mommy pay off my mistress' husband" Ensign.

    June 14, 2012 at 11:50 am | Reply
  16. chris

    he doesn't speak arabic, doesn't speak farsi.... but he bundled money for obama.

    tragic "leadership" we have.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
    • Person of Interest

      You think the Ambassador to Ethiopia Speaks Amharic or Omom? Or do you think we should have a linguist for an Ambassador to the UN? It's called translators. Anyone can be a translator, not anyone can be a diplomat. I can do Pashto pretty well but I'm better at choosing targets than I am at choosing words.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  17. frank

    GOP doing its usual nonsense. Is it because Obama appointed him? Who cares about a 3 year old Email if he can do the job. GOP needs to spend more time on putting people to work and less on trying to obstruct the president. Oh wait i guess thats their plan..

    June 14, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
  18. mike tampa

    What is the issue? If they were both unmarried, its called dating not an affair. This is really funny coming from the Gop, who showed no such outrage with Vitter (married), Ensign (married) and violating the law by paying off his mistress. Hypocrites all of them.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:13 am | Reply
    • SCFredV

      Mike, why attack the GOP over that issue? Hypocrisy is worn out you know. I will not even start to name the many Dems who have done the same or worse.

      Instead of drinking red or blue Kool-Aid we should demand that EVERY candidate and EVERY nominee have an established record of moral judgment. I agree that if they were both not married it is a non-story but it is ridiculous that moral value is o ly important when it is applied to the other side. I want moral people from both sides.

      And to be clear, moral values does not equate to moral beliefs. We may have differing moral beliefs (pro-abortion vs anti-abortion, gay marriage vs 1 man/q woman, etc.) But we all know adultery, stealing, etc. are wrong. Forget about the parthy mantra; we need moral people serving us from both sides.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:29 am | Reply
      • mctampa

        actually I agree with you, my point is simply this same group sat silent particulary with the ensign thing which was pretty bad.

        June 14, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  19. Sandy

    I feel for the guy's wife if he did have an affair, but that's none of their business and shouldn't have any bearing on his ability to do the job.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:46 am | Reply
    • SCFredV

      It has everything to do with his ability to do his job. Why are we so opposed to making sure we put trustworthy people I to posistions of trust? Why do we think that how somebody lives their personal lives does not reflect on their professional philosophies?

      Did he originally meet Miss Chon through the course of hbis work? If so then will this become a pattern of behavior for him? Was he still married when they met? Did he break up his marriage to be with Miss Chon? These are important questions whentalking about a government envoy position.

      I know nothin g else

      June 14, 2012 at 9:12 am | Reply
      • SCFredV

        (Finger slipped) about the man but if he was not married at the time and this is not a pattern with him then this should not be an impediment for him; otherwise his moral judgment should certainly be an issue regarding qualification.

        June 14, 2012 at 9:17 am |
      • mctampa

        remember the article clearly said they did not know if he was still married or not. Your marital status is your own business, I was separated for 6 years and I dated as did she. Our business, not my employers.

        June 14, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  20. Norma Vessels

    Here we go again!

    June 14, 2012 at 8:14 am | Reply
  21. Evangenital

    Since when an affair is bad? What is bad is, what the radical GOP is doing to America.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:03 am | Reply

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