Update: After publication of this post, Reed announced he opposes the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be secretary of the Department of Education.
All but two Democratic members of the United States Senate have publicly opposed at least one Trump nominee. They are Heidi Heitkamp, who represents the very red state of North Dakota, and Jack Reed, who represents the very blue state of Rhode Island.
Jack Reed, normally a reliable Democratic vote, controversially broke with most of his party when he voted for Tea Party Congressman Mike Pompeo to run the CIA. He has also voted for every single other Trump pick who has come before him.
Even more controversially, though, Jack Reed has yet to publicly announce his opposition to a single Trump nominee who has yet to come up for a vote. He hasn’t even announced his opposition to Betsy DeVos, the controversial billionaire nominee for Secretary of Education. DeVos, a megadonor who has bankrolled some of the most extreme opposition to public education, derives most of her money from the controversial multilevel marketing corporation Amway, a kind of corporation John Oliver recently derided as little more than a pyramid scheme. Only eight Democrats have yet to announce their opposition to DeVos.
He hasn’t announced his opposition to Jeff Sessions, whose previous nomination was defeated because of his history of racism. Mark Warner, one of the four Democrats who have yet to oppose DeVos or Pompeo, is opposing Sessions.
Reed hasn’t even announced his opposition to Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, known for his close ties to Vladimir Putin. Jeanne Shaheen, one of the other four Democrats who have yet to oppose DeVos or Pompeo, is opposing Tillerson.
This position is highly unprecedented for Reed, who has traditionally been a solid supporter of the Democratic Party and its values. Reed has often won praise from progressives, and he has rarely faced strong criticism.
Reed’s reluctance to oppose Trump picks is mirrored by Rhode Island’s other Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse, who has only opposed three Trump nominees (Sessions, Tillerson, and DeVos). For comparison, Ed Markey from our neighboring state of Massachusetts has opposed at least ten.
Jack Reed’s office number is: (202)224-4642