Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is supporting President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next ambassador to Kenya: Illinois state Sen. Kyle McCarter. That’s despite the significant political differences between Durbin and McCarter.
Durbin says he met with McCarter this week in Washington, D.C. to discuss his Kenya nomination.
McCarter is quite conservative, and Durbin says his voting record poses “some issues.” But that isn’t stopping him from giving the Republican a thumbs up.
“I think his background in Kenya makes him better prepared than most any ambassador, political appointment, that I’ve seen come out of this administration,” he told reporters at a Springfield news conference Friday.
Durbin explained his rationale, saying he was impressed with McCarter’s decades-long experience with the African nation.
“I doubt if very many people in Illinois know the commitment that Kyle and his family have made to Kenya, and the medical care that they provide through a clinic there is nothing short of amazing,” he said.
McCarter has done charity work in the African nation since the 1980s, But Durbin says his colleagues in the U.S. Senate still have concerns about McCarter’s voting record and past statements — which include strong opposition to same-sex marriage.
Durbin says he’s setting up informal hearings for those senators, so they can ask McCarter about his background and experience, and have their concerns addressed. McCarter still needs confirmation from the full U.S. Senate before he can begin work.