First there were near-tears, and then a protester had to be forced out, but Sen. John Kerry took it all in stride.
Kerry choked up at his secretary of state confirmation hearings this morning when discussing his father’s history in the U.S. Foreign Service, and how he was “equally proud” of both that history and his own as part of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“If you confirm me, I would take office as secretary proud that the Senate is in my blood, but equally proud that so, too, is the Foreign Service,” the Massachusetts Democrat told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, where all the members greeted him warmly.
“My dad’s work under presidents, both Democratic and Republican, took me and my siblings around the world for a personal journey that brought home the sacrifices and commitment the men and women of the Foreign Service make every day on behalf of America.
“I wish everyone in the country could see and understand first-hand the devotion, loyalty and amazingly hard, often dangerous work that our diplomats on the front lines do.”
Republicans praised the Obama nominee today, with ranking member Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee telling Kerry that he’s “almost lived his entire life for this moment,” adding that he was “thrilled” Kerry was in such a position.
Kerry has served on the Foreign Relations Committee for 29 years, and would be the first committee member to ascend to secretary of state in more than 100 years.
At the end of his otherwise uneventful testimony, a woman wearing a pink ski hat began yelling about America’s role in the Middle East. “I’m tired of my friends in the Middle East dying,” she screamed while being forced out of the room by security.
Kerry, 69, was unfazed, recalling his own history of protesting against the Vietnam War when he first came to Washington. “I respect the woman who was voicing her concerns about the world,” he said, calling her outburst the right exclamation point to end his testimony and citing developments in the Middle East and Syria and how the world is watching.
“People measure what we do.”
He is expected to win the nomination and replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.