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Will Obama Recess-Appoint Former TSA Nominee Erroll Southers?

By Zaid Jilani  

"Will Obama Recess-Appoint Former TSA Nominee Erroll Southers?"

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On Wednesday, Transportation Security Administration head nominee Erroll Southers withdrew himself from the nomination. Southers withdrew due to fierce opposition from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who placed a hold on Southers over the nominee’s support for unionization rights.

Last night, Southers appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show to explain why he decided to withdraw. He explained that he “felt like he was on his heels constantly” during his confirmation battle and didn’t feel like he would be able to convince DeMint to lift his hold. Maddow asked him if he would consider re-submitting himself for the nomination if President Obama decided to appoint him with a recess appointment, which would allow Obama to get around congressional obstructionism. Southers responded that he would:

MADDOW: There are a lot of people in the country who look at the politics of your nomination and want this administration to have fought for you, to have made an example of Jim DeMint for dismissing national security in favor of this no-win dog-and- pony show about unions, to have recess-appointed you if need be, to have made a fist-pounding speech about it to ward off any other obstructionist shenanigans like that. that. If the administration hypothetically had second thoughts and decided to renominate you and handle it like that, would you do it? Would you try it again? [...]

SOUTHERS: Yes, I would do it. I’m committed to the mission. I tried to convince Senator DeMint it was about the mission.

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Reflecting on his confirmation fight, Southers told Maddow, “We need to address the threat that’s facing this country. The politics need to be aside. And as you mentioned earlier, I am apolitical. This is about terrorism and not about politics.”

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