The Senate confirmed Mike Pompeo as secretary of state on Thursday despite lingering objections from Democrats who’ve questioned his record of hawkish policy positions and past controversial statements about minority groups.
The split vote – 57-42 – represents the political scrutinyPompeo is likely to encounter as he moves from the CIA to the State Department, where he’ll face the simultaneous challenges of reinvigorating an agency beset by flagging morale and answering for a president who is prone to impulsiveness on the global stage.
Only six of the 14 Democrats who backed Pompeo to be CIA director last year voted for him to become the nation’s top diplomat. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., who joined the Senate earlier this year, also supported his confirmation.
Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and one of those who changed his vote on Pompeo since last year, said that he was “disappointed” Pompeo had not tried “to repudiate some of the extreme views he expressed during his time in Congress” – such as criticism of American Muslims and opposition to same-sex marriage.
Warner added that he hoped that as secretary of state, Pompeo would stand up for “American values … like freedom, diversity, equality and tolerance” – and that “if he does, he can count on my assistance and support.”
In a statement, President Donald Trump called Pompeo a patriot whose “immense talent, energy, and intellect” will serve the nation well. “He will always put the interests of America first,” Trump said. “He has my trust. He has my support.”
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Karoun Demirjian, Carol Morello