White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Wednesday that Donald Trump will be interviewing Joe Lieberman for the role of FBI Director.
Joe Lieberman, of course, is the former senator from Connecticut who initially ran for Senate as a Democrat but later became an independent. He also was Al Gore’s running mate in the 2000 election. Lieberman retired from the Senate in January 2013.
So what has been Joe Lieberman’s relationship with Donald Trump? What has Lieberman said about the 45th president? Here’s what you need to know.
1. He Endorsed Hillary Clinton for President in 2016
In the past, Joe Lieberman has broken with the Democrats and supported a Republican for president, backing John McCain in 2008.
But in 2016, Joe Lieberman backed the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. He officially announced his support for her in August 2016, a few weeks after the Democratic National Convention.
“Somebody asked me this question last week and I said I haven’t really announced who I’m supporting. But you asked me, I’m just going to say it and get it over with,” Lieberman said on a radio show, according to The Washington Examiner. “I’m an independent Democrat, I never changed parties, and I’m going to vote for Hillary Clinton.”
Lieberman also said that he personally worked with Hillary Clinton and therefore he knows that she is “strong, she’s smart, she understands national security.”
A week earlier, Lieberman had declined to say who he was going to vote for, leading to some speculation that he was going to back Trump.
2. He Said He Disagrees With Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Joe Lieberman said he disagreed with Donald Trump’s call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
Lieberman said in an interview with Slate that he thinks there should be a security test to enter the country, not a religious test.
“I’d like to actually disagree with [Trump’s Muslim ban],” he said. “I like the articulation that Paul Ryan gave that there should be a security test, not a religious test. It should apply to everybody of any religion coming in. Right? But that’s me.”
When President Trump did end up signing an executive order suspending immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations, Lieberman said that he was glad to see Trump change this from his initial Muslim ban pledge.
“I appreciate that President Trump has gone from what during the campaign sounded like a possible ban on Muslims coming into America, which would have been unacceptable, I think unconstitutional, to making a judgment that there are certain countries from which people are more likely to be coming in here to do us damage, and therefore we ought to keep them out,” Lieberman told Business Insider.
3. He Has Said That Democrats Should Work With Trump
After Donald Trump became president of the United States, Joe Lieberman warned Democrats that they should work with him and not simply oppose his entire agenda.
“That is not a good strategy to follow,” Lieberman said, according to ABC News. “I hope the Democrats will get over that soon. It takes two to tango.”
Lieberman also said that he thought Donald Trump’s February speech to a joint session of Congress was “very hopeful” and that he was optimistic that Trump would work with Democrats.
“I hope it is the inauguration of a different kind of approach,” Lieberman said. “Will it last, will the president stick with it…only time will tell, but there is a little hope there last night.”
4. He Says That the Rise of Donald Trump Was Inevitable
After Donald Trump won the presidency, Joe Lieberman said in an interview that this phenomenon was inevitable.
Lieberman told NBC Connecticut that Trump’s victory can be attributed to the fact that people are fed up with Washington as a whole.
“As the political system has failed to deliver for people and people have in our country have become more and more angry at Washington, it was just inevitable that somebody who was an outsider would come along,” Lieberman said.
Lieberman also said that the 2016 campaign was much more brutal and partisan than any of the ones he’s seen, including the 2000 election when he ran with Al Gore.
Recalling his debates with Dick Cheney, Lieberman told NBC Connecticut, “We disagreed on almost everything but I thought that it was all very civil and not personal, no personal attacks and at its best that’s what it was meant to be, but this campaign seems very far from that, unfortunately, to the detriment of the country.”
5. He Supported Donald Trump’s Pick for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos
Though Joe Lieberman did not support Donald Trump for president, he did back Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.
In fact, Joe Lieberman spoke in support of Betsy DeVos as DeVos’ confirmation hearings.
“I worked with Betsy for years on school choice legislation, particularly regarding low-income students in the District of Columbia,” Lieberman said at the time. “Everything I have seen tells me that Betsy is ready to take on this assignment and do it very well.”
Lieberman went on to say that many of the questions surrounding DeVos’ nomination seem to stem from the fact that she does not come from within the education establishment.
“But honestly, I believe that today, that is one of the most important qualifications you can have for the job,” Lieberman said.
Some on the left were critical at the time that Lieberman did not disclose the fact that the law firm where he has served as senior counsel, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP, has represented Donald Trump.
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