President Obama nominated Erroll Southers to be the director of the Transportation Safety Administration. Now, Southers has withdrawn his name, saying his nomination was “obstructed by political ideology.” Since the president’s nomination some state senators have questioned Southers over his past. One of those Senators, Senator Jim DeMint, says he never received a clear answer from Southers.
“He seems like a nice guy, but I just ask a few basic questions and couldn’t get a straight answer and so he wouldn’t give me a straight answer, I wouldn’t give my unanimous consent for him to pass without a vote. I asked for some debate, some additional vetting, and I asked the White House for some additional information and six or seven other senators joined me, and we never got anything from him because he didn’t tell the committees the truth about some problems he had 20 years ago,” says DeMint.
Those problems had to do with his time in the F.B.I. in the late 1980’s. Southers told senators that he asked a co-worker’s husband who worked for the San Diego Police Department at the time to run a background check on his ex-wife’s boyfriend. Some Republican’s, including DeMint, wanted answers about this scenario. DeMint says he never received the answers he needed and Congress may have been misled.
“The Democrats are trying to blame me for holding him up. The problem is he was not properly vetted by the White House. This is a very important position, millions and millions of Americans are flying everyday, and we’ve got to know the people there are looking out for security and not just paying union dues and working for union bosses. We just have to focus on the priority, which is security,” says DeMint.