Sen. Bob Corker offered some of the initial comments at a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday for Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who is President Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of state.
Corker, who became ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week, had said earlier that he expected Kerry to “sail through” the confirmation process. The senator offered kind words to his colleague, with whom who has chaired the committee for the past for years, adding that his sense was that Kerry’s confirmation process would go through “very quickly.”
“I look at you being nominated as someone who’s almost lived your entire life, if you will, for this moment of being able to serve in this capacity,” Corker said. “I’m happy for you. I know in the many conversations we’ve had over the last two weeks that you’re very anxious to serve.”
According to a Politico report, the senator’s most direct line of questioning came when he asked Kerry about former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, who has been nominated by Obama to serve as secretary of defense. Corker asked Kerry how he would square with Hagel’s views on working toward a goal of zero nuclear weapons.
“We have to be realistic about it,” Kerry said. “And I think Sen. Hagel is going to be realistic about it.”
Corker said earlier this month that he expected Hagel’s confirmation process to be “a real hearing process,” unlike others that would be taking place.
The hearing came one day after Corker participated in a hearing to question Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the Obama administration’s response to the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya.