Rand Paul on Friedman: ‘I’m Favorably Disposed’
WASHINGTON – Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) told Jewish Insider on Wednesday that he is “favorably disposed” towards David Friedman, President Donald Trump’s nominee for US Ambassador to Israel. The Kentucky legislator, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), added that he has already met with Friedman. Paul is considered more of an independent voice on the SFRC and his support could be critical for Friedman if the vote falls on party lines.
Friedman’s nomination hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will introduce Friedman to members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations at the start of the hearing.
Fellow GOP Senator on the committee Rob Portman (R-OH) told Jewish Insider that Friedman “looks like a highly qualified guy,” but would not commit to backing Friedman’s nomination before meeting the nominee. Sen.Bob Menendez (D-NJ) noted on Tuesday “My private meeting with him (Friedman) indicates someone who is different than some of those public comments.” If Friedman is able to secure backing from Paul, Menendez, and the other Republicans, the New York native should be able to pass through the SFRC on his way to a full Senate vote.
The New York Times reported that Friedman is expected to apologize during his Thursday hearing calling J Street activists “Kapos,” a move designed to increase support among some Democrats for his nomination.