Jon Kyl, the previous senator sworn straight into fill the late John McCain’s Senate seat, may also join the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate sources confirmed Thursday.
As the Senate’s Republican whip, Kyl, 76, would have been a longtime Pentagon and defense-sector ally, then referred to as Senate’s biggest advocate for missile defense spending and its strongest opponent to nuclear weapons reduction. More broadly, Kyl, who retired in 2013, represents a far more conservative perspective than McCain, known as a maverick who sometimes voted against his party.
On national defense, Kyl and McCain were “inseparable,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a SASC member and McCain ally.
“You should expect from him what you got from him inside the years he was here: Solid conservative viewpoint toward national security,” said Graham, R-S.C.
Kyl’s voice and experience, Graham said, could be helpful in finding compromise on border security and avoiding a government shutdown. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he can be willing to close on the government if Congress will not provide enough funding to get a border wall-panicking Congressional Republican leaders before midterm elections.
“He’s from Arizona, so border security is essential to him, but he’s an extremely practical guy,” Graham said of Kyl.
The committee in 2017 named Kyl, who was simply being a lobbyist in the lawyer Covington & Burling, to Congress’s Commission about the National Defense Strategy for the United States, alongside two former four-stars, three Obama-era Pentagon officials.
McCain died on August 25, 2018 after being diagnosed with brain cancer a year ago. He was buried Sunday after tributes in Arizona and Washington.
Kyl was appointed on Tuesday by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to temporarily fill McCain’s seat. Kyl claims although not run in a special election in 2020 in order to complete McCain’s term, which ends in 2023.