June 10th, 2007
12:58 PM ET
9 years ago

White House vows to ignore Gonzales vote

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House on Sunday vowed to ignore Monday's Senate vote of no confidence in embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, calling it "purely symbolic."

Asked whether the vote will have any effect on President Bush, White House spokesman Tony Snow replied, "No."

Speaking to "Fox News Sunday," Snow said some lawmakers are looking for "political advantage."

"What we'll end up having is people burning off a day expressing their opinions, and then we'll have an opportunity to move on," he added.

But Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's number two Democrat, criticized the White House for supporting the embattled attorney general - despite calls even from many Republicans for his ouster - while replacing Gen. Peter Pace as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"Isn't it interesting that this White House is willing to fight to the death for Attorney General Gonzales, but not for Marine Corps General Peter Pace?" Durbin said to reporters.

In an appearance on Fox News Sunday just after Snow, Durbin said he believes he would have supported Pace's renomination.

The renomination to another two-year term had been widely expected, and the papers had already been drafted. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Friday that some members of the Democrat-led Congress had warned him a renomination hearing would focus on the "past" and would be "a very contentious process." Gates said he will recommend to President Bush that he nominate Adm. Michael G. Mullen, currently the chief of naval operations, to the post.

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he solicited views of "a broad range of senators" for Gates, and found many agreed with him that such a confirmation hearing "would have been a backward-looking debate about the last four years."

Durbin told Fox News that anyone who comes before the Senate will face "some tough grilling."

"So to suggest that tough sledding on Capitol Hill is a reason to pull the plug on General Pace's career I don't think is a good argument. If that's the argument, why are we standing behind Attorney General Gonzales?

"Here's a man who's been through rough sledding, has said some things on Capitol Hill which he's had to recant, who's had staff people say well, things were being done in the Department of Justice that shouldn't be done, and the president's willing to stand by his man."

Durbin is among the many Democrats who wants Gonzales gone.

Monday's non-binding vote will be over a non-binding resolution declaring Gonzales no longer has the confidence of the American people.

The attorney general has been at the center of numerous controversies involving civil liberties, including the administration's warrantless wiretapping program to eavesdrop on conversations between people in the United States and suspected terrorists overseas.

But the row that erupted into widespread calls for his dismissal began with the administration's firings of eight U.S. attorneys across the country. A Senate investigation into whether politics played a role in those firings led to Gonzales' contradicting himself in testimony and saying he could not recall many steps leading to the dismissals.

But Snow, on Fox, noted that each administration "has the right to hire and fire people who serve at his pleasure."

Filed under: Alberto Gonzales • President Bush • Senate
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Bill W, Coatesville PA

    Just another display of pure arrogance from this president, who proves once again the he does not care what the people, the Congress, the Senate, or anyone else thinks – he is always right and everyone else, usually the majority, is always wrong. Maybe we need to start impeachment proceedings – and see if he can ignore that.

    June 10, 2007 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. joey mele las vegas , nv

    This is yet another example of the administrations arrogance and contemptuousness as they, once again, thumb their collective noses at the people, the Congress and the Senate. I’m aghast at the bold and blatant disdain for democracy and the disrespect with which they have treated the office of the presidency.
    Bush seems to believe he is incapable of mistakes, beyond reproach and above all forms of governance. Has anyone told him his title is “president”, not king ?

    June 10, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. T.G. Stafford, VA

    We can kiss democracy so long in this once great country. When the person we, the American citizens, voted to put in the White House (or allegedly voted for) ignores the people's representatives (the House and Senate) it sends a clear signal of fascism and dictatorship. The House and Senate represents the "little people" who pay all of their salaries. When they speak, the President must listen or be impeached immediately. We cannot allow this fascist regime known as the Bush Administration to continue down this path without some sort of consequence. Let's censure or impeach this guy.

    June 10, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  4. Allen Friedman, Henderson, Nv.

    The a.g.and the president are linked at the brain together and the two would rather disgrace the two offices that they are from then admit to anything.President knows a clone to present a.g.will not happen in this congress.

    June 10, 2007 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  5. Joe Garvey, Oceanside, CA

    Bush will never fire Gonzales because his new Attorney General might not be as loyal. Nixon could have been saved by his AG if his AG had fired the special prosecutor, and I think Gonzales is Bush's safeguard against impeachment.

    June 10, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. Mike York, NYC, NY

    First he illegally listened in on millions of Americans calls and then he fired eight US attorneys because they weren't being tough enough against democrats. What more must one do before one is held accountable for his actions?

    June 10, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. Mason Myatt, Birmmingham, AL

    The Administration has continually ignored the facts about Iraq and 9-11, it has ignored the Baker Commission, the election/referendum last November and the clear will of a substantial majority of the American people. Of course, Bush will ignore the Senate vote. The minority who confuse uninformed stubborness with strength of character will continue to support the president and those of us who were taught the value of learning from experience (and learning in general) will continue to be completely frustrated. America is paying and will continue to pay an enormous price in terms of lost lives and resources as a result of our having elected an underachieving, power mad, self-important but very little man to the once most powerful office in the world. Bush and his wilfully ignorant follwers are a disgrace to everything America and our Constitution have stood for since the Revolution. What a shame for our nation.

    June 11, 2007 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  8. Matt Houston, Texas

    So this is what a democracy means?

    Even though it is the will of the people to get rid of someone they do not trust and do not want in office, the president has decided he doesnt want to listen to the people and wants to do his own thing...

    My o My we are getting closer and closer no longer being a democracy

    June 11, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. Nicosia D. Petersburg,VA

    Having saw a clip of the President's response he referred to this as HIS government....BE AFRAID

    June 11, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. gt, Urbana, IL

    Amazingly this adminstration is busy spreading democracy in the Middle East.

    June 12, 2007 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |