Democratic Sen. John Kerry appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday for his confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of state. Kerry has chaired for the past four years and been a member since 1985. During his introductory remarks, Kerry was interrupted by a protester with the group CODEPINK. The activist was rushed out of the room as she called for a change to U.S. policy in the Middle East, including cutting aid to Israel. Kerry responded by invoking his own days as an antiwar activist in the early 1970s upon returning from military service in Vietnam.
Protester: “We’re killing thousands of people in the Middle East who are not a threat to us. When is it going to be enough? When are enough people going to be killed? I’m tired of my friends in the Middle East dying! I don’t know if they’re going to be alive the next day!”
Sen. John Kerry: “When I first came to Washington and testified, I obviously was testifying as part of a group of people who came here to have their voices heard. And that is, above all, what this place is about. So, I respect, I think, the woman who was voicing her concerns about that part of the world. And maybe one of you have traveled there. Some of you there were recently. Senator McCain, you were just there. You were in a refugee camp, and I know you heard this kind of thing. People measure what we do.”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to advance Kerry’s nomination to a full Senate vote early next week.