It has been nearly a month since President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and named CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his replacement.
According to CNN, the United States Senate confirmed Pompeo as the 70th Secretary of State on April 26. Five members of the Democratic Caucus, Sens Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, Tim Kaine, Angus King and Joe Donnelly, broke with the rest of their party to support Pompeo.
Despite the five aforementioned senators, the vast majority of the Democratic Caucus voted against Pompeo’s confirmation. In an op-ed by Ben Cardin, Maryland’s senior senator, in The Washington Post, the Senator criticized Pompeo’s hawkishness towards Iran and other countries as well as his unwillingness to stand up to the president.
According to Vox, others are concerned with Pompeo’s voting history and statements; in the past, Pompeo has voiced support for military intervention in Iran and North Korea in order to topple those regimes. Pompeo claimed President Obama covered up the Benghazi attacks, that homosexuality was a “perversion” and asserted that the Muslim community was “silent” after the Boston bombing.
In addition to Pompeo’s Democratic backers, CNN reported that every Republican, including Rand Paul, supported Pompeo; this is surprising given Rand Paul’s criticism of Mike Pompeo this week.
In Pompeo’s confirmation hearing, Rand Paul issued a severe line of questions. He criticised Pompeo’s support for the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and claimed that Pompeo’s interventionist tendencies are not what Trump voters want.
Given his statements, Rand Paul’s announcement supporting Pompeo on April 24 was an upset in Washington, D.C. Paul said on Twitter, “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.”
According to CNN, despite the criticisms of Pompeo, Senate Republicans claim that the Democrats are “obstructionists,” blocking Pompeo’s nomination because they don’t like the president. They point to the need for a Secretary of State and cite Pompeo’s public service.
President Donald Trump echoed the sentiment of Senate Republicans on April 23, when he tweeted that it is “Hard to believe Obstructionists [sic] May [sic] vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State.”
Despite the controversy surrounding Pompeo’s nomination, he passed with far more votes than expected at the beginning of the week; this is a major win for the president.