POLITICS

Senate Confirms Mike Pompeo As Secretary Of State

America has a new top diplomat who is backtracking on his hawkish positions.
President Donald Trump announced via Twitter last month that he was nominating Pompeo, his CIA director, to be the new secret
President Donald Trump announced via Twitter last month that he was nominating Pompeo, his CIA director, to be the new secretary of state.

With unanimous support from Republicans and backing from a handful of Democrats, the Senate on Thursday confirmed CIA director Mike Pompeo as the next secretary of state.

The vote in favor of Pompeo was 57-42.

Six Democrats and a independent who caucuses with the party, Sen. Angus King of Maine, joined in confirming Pompeo. The Democrats supporting him were Sens. Doug Jones of Alabama, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Bill Nelson of Florida.

President Donald Trump carried all six of the Democrats’ states in 2016′s White House race, and all of those lawmakers except Jones are up for re-election this year.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wasn’t present for the vote due to his ongoing treatment for cancer.

Pompeo, 54, received a favorable endorsement from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday after doubts about whether that would happen. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) changed his mind at the last minute and decided to support Pompeo after speaking out against him for weeks, even calling him “the wrong fit for America.” 

Pompeo, a former House member from Kansas, has indicated that he intends to approach his role as America’s top diplomat with less hawkish stances than he has been known for. He reversed course on many of his foreign policy positions during his confirmation hearing earlier this month, signaling that he was committed to working with other countries on fixing the Iran nuclear deal and backing down from his push for regime change in North Korea. He recently made a secret trip to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to discuss denuclearization and the upcoming U.S.-North Korean summit.  

Pompeo will enter a State Department crippled by controversy and staffing shortfalls during Rex Tillerson’s time at the helm, as international challenges continue to mount. Tillerson and Trump clashed both publicly and privately as the media speculated about a Tillerson departure for months. 

“I intend to be here for the whole year,” Tillerson told CNN in January.

Tillerson ultimately learned that he had been fired the same way the rest of the world did ― after Trump tweeted about it.

This story has been updated with details on the vote for Pompeo.

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