With Loretta Lynch’s confirmation still stalled in the Senate, former New York Mayor and one-time Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani joined other law enforcement leaders in pushing for a swift and strong vote in favor of her nomination for attorney general.
Lynch, a two-time US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, was nominated in November and has waited longer than all five previous attorney general nominees combined for a vote in the full Senate.
Giuliani worked with Lynch when he was mayor and called her an excellent lawyer with “very substantial expertise in national security”, who made decisions on merit, was not a political operative in any sense and deserved to be confirmed.
“As you all know, I am a Republican and I think I could probably be described as a very dedicated Republican,” Giuliani told reporters on a press call. “I find Loretta Lynch not only to be an acceptable appointment. I find her to be an extraordinary appointment.”
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to delay a vote on Lynch’s confirmation by the full Senate until the chamber completes consideration of an unrelated sex trafficking bill. That legislation had bipartisan support until Democrats discovered Republicans had added an anti-abortion provision they oppose. A procedural vote to end debate on the bill failed for the third time on Thursday and efforts to reach a compromise have gone nowhere. With the Senate set to debate the budget next week and to leave for a two-week Easter recess the following week, Lynch’s confirmation vote could be delayed until April.
The hold up has angered Lynch supporters.
The former New York mayor argued that the confirmation process had been so “tremendously distorted” that it pitted the Republican and Democratic parties against one another much like “the Hatfields and the McCoys”, a reference to the famous 19th century rivalry between two rural families. He said that if the Republican Party wants to be faithful to the Constitution, which grants the President the prerogative to make appointments, and to receive fair treatment from Democrats in the future, they should confirm Lynch.
Giuliani and Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who was also on the call and said he had known Lynch for 16 years, said the Senate should confirm her with a large majority to ensure her a strong start in the post and the respect and confidence she deserves as she carries out her duties.
“I think it’s critical that the Senate move quickly. They can certainly confirm her and deal with other legislative matters at the same time. It also important they confirm her with a very strong vote,” Freeh said. “The nomination is being held up for political reasons.”
Giuliani said he had been working with Lynch supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and speaking with several Republican senators in hopes of drumming up more support for her confirmation.
As of now, just four GOP senators have said they would vote for Lynch. The other three are Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Graham’s office did not immediately respond to questions about his work with the mayor on this issue.
The drumbeat of press conferences and press calls from Lynch supporters has increased steadily over the course of the past week, with some Democrats and black leaders blaming race or gender for the delay in the vote, a charge Republicans have angrily denied. Freeh and others on the call Friday said that race and gender had nothing to do with the political fight over her confirmation.
“It need not be about race or gender. It needs to be about putting the best person forward who can do the job,” said Dr. Cedric Alexander, president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and a member of President Obama’s task force on 21st century policing.