Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, is objecting to President Obama’s nominee to be the next Surgeon General of the United States because of what he says is a history of political advocacy and push for gun controls.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, Mr. Paul writes that he has “serious concerns” about Dr. Vivek Murphy’s ability to “impartially serve as ‘the Nation’s Doctor.’ “
“The primary policy goals of Dr. Murthy’s organization have been focused on advancing stricter gun control laws and promoting the Affordable Care Act,” Mr. Paul, an ophthalmologist, wrote in a letter dated Feb. 25.
“In his efforts to curtail Second Amendment rights, Dr. Murthy has continually referred to guns as a public health issue on par with heart disease and has diminished the role of mental health in gun violence,” Mr. Paul said. “As a physician, I am deeply concerned that he has advocated that doctors use their position of trust to ask patients, including minors, details about gun ownership in the home. His organization has also advocated that physicians collect and report data on gun ownership to the Federal Government and increasing Federal funding for gun control research.”
Dr. Murthy, Mr. Paul writes, has “disqualified himself from being Surgeon General because of his intent to use that position to launch an attack on Americans’ right to own a firearm under the guise of a public health and safety campaign.”
Because of changes to chamber rules Democrats pushed through last year, Dr. Murthy needs only a simple majority to win confirmation from the Senate. But Mr. Paul’s letter could raise the eyebrows of Democrats running for re-election this year in red states like Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican, raised similar concerns over Dr. Murthy at a confirmation hearing earlier this month but GOP obama-nominees-tweets-annoy-gop-but-not-enough-to-block-him” target=”_blank”>Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming said that due in part to the chamber’s new rules, Dr. Murthy’s confirmation is safe.
Mr. Murthy told senators he would avoid politics in the position if confirmed.
“I do not intend to use my office as surgeon general as a bully pulpit on gun control,” he said.