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Pompeo confirmed as secretary of state

Tribune Washington Bureau

April 26. 2018 8:51PM
Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump's pick to replace former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his nomination on April 12, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON — Overcoming a bruising confirmation fight, the Senate voted Thursday to confirm CIA Director Mike Pompeo as President Donald Trump's second secretary of state — but the first who Trump says shares his worldview and opinions on Iran, North Korea and other key concerns.

The vote was 57-42, an unusually low margin of approval for America's top diplomat, a position that normally draws broad bipartisan support to give a President his chosen candidate to conduct foreign policy.

Pompeo was sworn in by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Samuel Alito and immediately started work, taking off for Brussels to attend a meeting of NATO foreign ministers on Friday, according to Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman. Pompeo then will travel to Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, she said.

"I'm delighted to be secretary of state and completely humbled by the responsibility," Pompeo said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to serving the American people and getting to work right away."

Trump said Pompeo has his trust and support.

"Having a patriot of Mike's immense talent, energy and intellect leading the Department of State will be an incredible asset for our country at this critical time in history," he said in a statement from the White House.

Pompeo, 54, faces major diplomatic challenges in coming weeks, including whether Trump will follow through with his vow to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal by a self-imposed May 12 deadline, and planning for a potential nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by mid-June.

The Senate vote reflected widespread Democratic opposition to Pompeo over his outspoken hawkish positions after he was elected to Congress in 2010 as a tea party Republican from Kansas, and previous statements seen as biased against Muslims and gays, lesbians and transgender people.

Many opponents also worried that Pompeo would fail to serve as a counterbalance to what one Democratic senator called Trump's "worst instincts."


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