President Biden‘s nominee for archivist of the United States encountered Republican opposition Tuesday over her social media posts that included gun control advocacy and her advice to a liberal activist on how to remove a religious flag from the grounds of the Library of Congress.
Colleen Shogan had told lawmakers on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that she locked her Twitter account prior to her confirmation hearings because it contained only personal views on matters such as mystery novels, her favorite Pittsburgh sports teams and her dog.
But Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, noted Tuesday that several of her tweets covered topics such as her disdain for former President Donald Trump, her disagreement with removing COVID-mask requirements for children under age 5, and a comment telling Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to “stay in his own lane” regarding an election certification issue in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Hawley accused Ms. Shogan of lying to Congress under oath and said he will oppose her nomination.
When Mr. Hawley asked the nominee repeatedly to explain individual partisan tweets, Ms. Shogan answered several times, “My social media is in my personal capacity, senator.”
Mr. Hawley accused her of stonewalling.
“I have never seen a witness stonewall like this before, never,” Mr. Hawley told her. “This is unbelievable. And you want to be the archivist of the United States. You lied to us under oath. I have never seen a witness blatantly lie.”
He told his colleagues on the committee, “she is misleading us right now before our eyes.”
Ms. Shogan still is expected to be confirmed, given the Democratic majority in the Senate. Chairman Gary Peters, Michigan Democrat, called her “exceedingly well qualified.”
Republicans brought up other issues at Tuesday’s hearing.
She pledged to Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, to get to the bottom of an incident at the National Archives in January in which security personnel compelled visiting students, in Washington for the March for Life, to remove clothing with pro-life messages on it.
Mr. Paul called the episode “deeply disturbing.”
“It’s hard to imagine a more offensive way to violate their freedom of speech,” he said. “Nothing like this can ever happen again. We must understand who ordered it.”
Senators also questioned her about classified documents found in the possession of Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence.
She declined to answer specific questions, saying she is not yet an employee of the National Archives and Records Administration, but pledged in general to seek more transparency about public access to government records.
Mr. Paul told the nominee, “The difference in how Archives appear to have handled disputes over documents held by former President Trump and Vice President Pence, and President Biden on the other hand, raised questions about the impartiality of the agency.”
“Specifically, the agency seems to have aggressively publicized the search for documents at President Trump and Vice President Pence’s residences, but tried to keep quiet about the documents President Biden kept at, at least three locations,” Mr. Paul said.
He predicted the government will spend millions of dollars on investigations into the documents only to find that no sensitive matters were at risk of being revealed.
“I think the larger issue here is really, too many things are classified,” Mr. Paul said.
It was the second hearing for Ms. Shogan, who would become the first female archivist in the nation’s history.
• Dave Boyer can be reached at email@example.com.
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