As she rises in national polls, Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar is taking heat from critics inside her party over her past support of President Trump’s cabinet nominees and judges.
Sen. Klobuchar, D-Minn., has a history of voting for some of the president’s nominees for cabinet positions.
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In 2017, Klobuchar voted for John Kelly’s confirmation to Homeland Security secretary; Wilbur Ross as Commerce secretary; Mike Pompeo as CIA director, and later as secretary of State; Nikki Haley as U.N. ambassador; Elaine Chao as Transportation secretary; David Shulkin as secretary of Veterans’ Affairs; Linda McMahon as Small Business Administrator; Dan Coats as director of National Intelligence; Robert Lighthizer as U.S. trade representative; Sonny Perdue to be secretary of Agriculture, and more.
None of the other senators who are currently running for president – Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., or Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. – or have dropped out the race – Cory Booker, D-N.J., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., or Kamala Harris, D-Calif. – voted in favor of those nominees.
In 2018, Klobuchar voted for Kevin McAleenan to serve as commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). McAleenan later served as acting Homeland Security secretary.
Last week at a town hall in Nevada, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg – one of Klobuchar’s rivals – took a veiled swipe at Klobuchar for voting to confirm McAleenan after she has repeatedly downplayed his political experience.
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“You know, I’ve heard some people say that, you know, my experience is not relevant because you have to have Washington experience in order to become a president,” Buttigieg said. “But some of those same voices are among those who voted to confirm Kevin McAleenan as the CBP head, who presided over, for example, the horrifying conditions that children were kept in, and we have to look at what kind of judgment that experience has brought.”
Klobuchar has, in general, taken a more moderate stance on border security compared with some of her left-wing primary rivals. In July, she told ABC’s “This Week” that she didn’t agree with candidates like Warren, who called for the decriminalization of illegal border crossings. She also, in 2018, came out in favor of negotiating with Trump for wall funding as part of a broader immigration reform deal and to avoid a government shutdown.
The Klobuchar campaign, though, told Fox News that she does oppose the wall at the southern border.
“Sen. Klobuchar strongly opposes President Trump’s border wall as well as diverting military funds for its construction,” a campaign spokesperson said. “She supports paying for border security as part of comprehensive immigration reform and she believes that comprehensive reforms and implementing a policy to allow asylum seekers from the Northern Triangle countries to seek asylum in their home countries could result in a decrease in some of the funding necessary for the border.”
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Meanwhile, over the course of the 2017-2018 congressional session, Klobuchar also voted to confirm nearly two-thirds of judges nominated by President Trump – far more than any other Senate Democrat who was or still is running for the White House – decisions that a Warren-affiliated group has taken issue with in recent days.
“Klobuchar has faced no scrutiny this year. New Hampshire voters didn’t know that Klobuchar voted to confirm two-thirds of Trump judges to lifetime appointments – and has one of the most conservative records of any Democrat,” the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a major supporter of Warren’s presidential campaign, said in a statement this week.
Klobuchar did, however, receive plenty of attention for her tough questioning of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who she did not vote to confirm.
Klobuchar outperformed Warren in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary last week, making a strong third-place finish. Since then, Klobuchar has seen an infusion of campaign cash.
Recent polls in Nevada, which will have its caucuses Saturday, suggest Warren, Klobuchar, Buttigieg and billionaire Tom Steyer are all competing for third place, behind Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Fox News reached out to the Klobuchar campaign for comment on the jabs from the PCCC but has not yet received a response.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.