Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on Friday said President Joe Biden’s Russian-born nominee to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency supports “communist policies” and was unfit to serve in the position.
Saule Omarova, a U.S. citizen since 2005, was nominated in September.
“Saule Omarova supports abolishing private bank accounts, using govt to bankrupt energy companies & creating a Soviet style ‘National Investment Authority,'” Rubio tweeted Friday morning.
“She supports communist policies & a communist should not be our Comptroller of the Currency,” he added.
Rubio, whose parents fled Cuba before Fidel Castro seized control of the country in 1959, posted his tweet a day after Omarova faced sharp questions from Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., the committee’s ranking member, said he still had “significant concerns” about Omarova even after meeting with her privately.
“Taken in totality, her ideas do amount to a socialist manifesto for American financial services,” Toomey said.
Sen. John Neely Kennedy, R-La., suggested Omarova may harbor loyalties to the communist ideology.
“I don’t know whether to call you ‘professor’ or ‘comrade,'” Kennedy told Omarova, The Washington Post reported.
“Senator, I’m not a communist,” Omarova replied. “I do not subscribe to that ideology. I could not choose where I was born.”
Omarova, a Cornell law professor, was born in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. She served in the Treasury Department under former President George W. Bush.
Republican lawmakers have accused Omarova of supporting a Soviet-style takeover of the U.S. financial system. They also have criticized her for removing, in 2017, a reference to a thesis she wrote while attending college in the USSR as an undergraduate and for not submitting the paper to the committee. (The panel does not typically ask nominees for unpublished work, The Hill reported.)
Omarova has proposed a “radical” reinvention of consumer banking, which would not replace or outlaw private financial markets but rather direct federal relief and emergency response efforts in times of crisis, The Hill said.
The nominee told the committee that her life in the “oppressive” Soviet Union reinforced to her the importance of academic and personal freedom.
“[Communism] doesn’t care about human beings, and kills its own citizens for no other reason but the refusal to follow what an oppressive state government ideology tells them to do,” Omarova said, The Hill reported.
“Everything I do — no matter how people may interpret my academic work — my one goal is to make this country better and stronger so we can never have a repetition of that communist system anywhere in the world.”