CIA director and President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state Mike Pompeo was just voted favorable as the next secretary of state by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The vote turned in Pompeo’s favor after Republican Senator Rand Paul reversed his stance on his nomination.
Paul’s last minute endorsement of Trump’s state secretary pick came after he tweeted the president had confirmed Pompeo shares the president’s views that the Iraqi war was a mistake.
The committee voted 11-9 in Pompeo’s favor after Democrat Chris Coons voted present. Coons was the only Democrat to vote in the CIA director’s favor with the rest voting against.
Republicans initially faced a hurdle as Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) was attending a funeral of a close friend. Despite a proxy vote, Isakson had to be present at the panel to for the vote to be forwarded to the Senate floor.
Coons later changed his “no” to a present resulting in the vote turning in favor of Pompeo.
Had Coons decided to oppose the nomination, the CIA director would have still almost certainly secured the position with several Democrats backing his vote at the Senate floor.
However, had Pompeo failed the (largely symbolic) panel vote, he would have been the first secretary of state in almost a century to do so.
Paul sent out a series of tweets explaining why he decided to forego his opposition to Pompeo’s nomination. The senator said the president confirmed the CIA director agrees with Trump’s stance on war.
I just finished speaking to @realDonaldTrump, after speaking to him several times today. I also met with and spoke to Director Pompeo.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 23, 2018
After calling continuously for weeks for Director Pompeo to support President Trump’s belief that the Iraq war was a mistake, and that it is time to leave Afghanistan, today I received confirmation the Director Pompeo agrees with @realDonaldTrump— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 23, 2018
President Trump believes that Iraq was a mistake, that regime change has destabilized the region, and that we must end our involvement with Afghanistan.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 23, 2018
Having received assurances from President Trump and Director Pompeo that he agrees with the President on these important issues, I have decided to support his nomination to be our next Secretary of State.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 23, 2018
Paul’s Twitter announcement of Pompeo’s support came hours after Trump tweeted about the Democrats’ apparent refusal to approve “hundreds of good people.”
Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people, including the Ambassador to Germany. They are maxing out the time on approval process for all, never happened before. Need more Republicans!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2018
Pompeo has all but secured the post of America’s top most diplomat will most Republicans and a few Democrats as the Senate prepares to confirm two other controversial Trump nominees in Gina Haspel and Ronny Jackson.
It was recently revealed by the president Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in a secret meeting that came on the heels of a historic summit between Trump and the North Korean despot. The move looked like the White house’s attempt to rehabilitate Pompeo’s image after he was grilled during his Senate confirmation hearing over his alleged anti-Muslim and LGBTQ views.
Pompeo denied claims that he was hardliner.
"My record is exquisite with respect to treating each and every faith with the dignity that they deserved," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is likely to bring Pompeo’s nomination for the secretary of state on the Senate floor later this week.
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