Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo confirmed as USA secretary of state

27 April, 2018, 01:16 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • CIA Director Mike Pompeo delivers remarks

He served as a representative from Kansas from 2011-2017 and was then appointed as Central Intelligence Agency director by President Trump.

Here are four things to know about the State Department, which Pompeo is inheriting in disarray.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's top Democrat, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, said he doubted Pompeo "would be willing to push back against the president's worst instincts" on world affairs.

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.

Mr Trump sent Mr Pompeo to North Korea three weeks ago to meet with the country's leader, Kim Jong-un, ahead of a planned summit with the US President to address Pyongyang's nuclear program.

"Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito swore in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the West Conference Room of the Supreme Court", State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

While his confirmation went smoothly, uncertainty surrounded his confirmation process within the Senate Foreign Relations Committee over objections by Democrats.

Trump, who fired his former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via Twitter in March, lauded Pompeo shortly after he received confirmation, calling him a "patriot".

All Republicans voted in support of Pompeo except Senator John McCain, who is receiving treatment for brain cancer in his native Arizona. Rand Paul - the only Republican who had considered voting against the confirmation - didn't come around until speaking with President Trump personally. In all six Democrats voted to confirm Pompeo to be the next secretary of state, in addition to Independent Senator Angus King. While Republican lawmakers were united behind Pompeo, most Democrats bemoaned what they saw as the nominee's history of warmongering rhetoric and antipathy to Muslims and gay people.

Senators voted 57-42 in favor of Pompeo, who had faced stiff resistance from Democrats anxious about his reputation for hawkishness and past harsh statements about homosexuality and Islam.

But Paul's opposition proved flimsy earlier this week, when Paul caved to pressure from Trump and made a decision to support Pompeo, allowing him to advance out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a favorable recommendation.

From Brussels, Pompeo was expected to travel to the Middle East with stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan over the weekend and Monday, said the officials, who were not authorized to publicly discuss the planning and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump's choice of Pompeo has been controversial, and almost led to him being voted out of committee without a favorable recommendation. Pompeo used his confirmation hearing to try to soften that image, edging away from past comments about regime change in North Korea.


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