Senate confirms Pompeo as secretary of state

US Senate confirms CIA director Mike Pompeo as Trump's secretary of state

US Senate confirms CIA director Mike Pompeo as Trump's secretary of state

Mr Pompeo had been accused by Democrats of harbouring anti-Muslim and homophobic views.

The Senate voted 57-42 to approve him as America's top diplomat, the second of the Trump presidency.

If confirmed, Pompeo will replace Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil CEO fired by President Donald Trump on Twitter last month.

The approval comes in time for Mr Pompeo to lead a USA delegation to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign minister talks in Brussels this weekend.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) defended his "no" vote on Pompeo's nomination, saying it came down to needing a secretary of state "who'll check Trump's bellicose nature, not encourage it". The same day, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Young is a member, voted along party lines to advance the Pompeo nomination to the full Senate. Earlier this week, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, the nominee's main Republican antagonist, bowed to pressure from President Trump to drop his objections. "Mike Pompeo understands this and will make it happen as Secretary of State".

He insisted his focus will be on diplomatic solutions to problems, while pledging to bring "swagger once again" to the State Department.

Image Zoom
Image Zoom

Pompeo served in the military for five years - although never saw combat - and then left to attend Harvard Law School.

"In fact he's already played a role as director of the CIA", Cornyn said, referring to the secret trip that Pompeo made to North Korea to meet with leader Kim Jong Un in late March.

Perkins added President Donald Trump "has been an agent of change in Washington". Pompeo would then race to a plane waiting to take him to Belgium for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting. Pompeo is expected to travel to Brussels before heading on to the Middle East.

Pompeo has been a stern critic of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, an accord seen as a victory for non-proliferation by America's allies, but as a capitulation by anti-Iran hardliners. He tapped Pompeo, a former Kansas Republican Congressman, to take the job after the two developed a close relationship during his tenure as the chief intelligence officer, during which Pompeo personally delivered the daily briefings at the White House.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said he worries that Pompeo appeared to dismiss the role of diplomacy in the past and to espouse views on reproductive and LGBTQ rights that demonstrate values outside the US mainstream and "will hamper American diplomacy".

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