Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general of the United States, recommended FBI Director James Comey be fired this week, causing President Donald Trump to let Comey go. So who is Rod Rosenstein, exactly? Is he a Republican or a Democrat?
Although very little is known about Rod Rosenstein’s own political views, he theoretically aligns with the Republican party. After all, in 2007, George W. Bush nominated Rosenstein to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. President Bill Clinton had named his own nominee for the position in 2000, but Republicans prevented this nominee from being confirmed, hoping to get a Republican in the seat after a Republican president won the 2000 election in November. Rosenstein did not end up getting confirmed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
During his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony, Rosenstein said that he has not “been a member nor held office in or rendered services to any political party or election committee.”
Rosenstein has served under both Democratic and Republican presidents. George W. Bush in 2005 appointed Rosenstein to serve as the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, but Rosenstein remained in that position under Barack Obama.
In fact, Rosenstein was the only U.S. attorney appointed by a previous administration who served for the entire length of the Obama administration, according to The New York Times.
Rosenstein also previously served as counsel to Deputy Attorney General Philip B. Heymann, a Democrat, during the Bill Clinton administration.
Rosenstein’s recent confirmation to the position of deputy attorney general was not a controversial one; he received a yes vote from most Democrats and was confirmed 94 to 6 on April 25th, 2017.
Vox describes Rod Rosenstein as a “rock-ribbed Republican,” but they also talk about the fact that Rosenstein has had bipartisan support over the years, especially in his home state of Maryland.
“When prosecutors in this State ask Rod for assistance he does not care if you are a ‘D’ or an ‘R,’ he has only cared about making this State a safer place,” the president of Maryland’s State Attorney’s Association said in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
When Rod Rosenstein was selected by the Donald Trump administration to be deputy attorney general, some were surprised Trump picked someone with such bipartisan support. Philip Heymann, who was Rosenstein’s law professor at Harvard and boss at the Bill Clinton Justice Department, told The Guardian, “It surprises me that they didn’t pick somebody who was more partisan.”
In 2011, The Washington Post wrote of Rosenstein, “Colleagues say he keeps his politics out of the office.”
During Rod Rosenstein’s confirmation hearing, Senator Ted Cruz complained about the Department of Justice being politicized by Democrats, telling Rosenstein that he doesn’t want him to create “a political Department of Justice in the same mold but on the Republican side.” Rosenstein responded by saying, “I will certainly commit to faithfully and fairly uphold the law without regard to politics.”