Pompeo scrapes through Senate confirmation panel after Paul's U-turn

Casey Dawson
April 26, 2018

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there were enough votes in the full Senate to confirm Pompeo this week. He would replace Rex Tillerson, who was sacked by Trump in March. He's been critical of President Trump's foreign policy agenda, and when we need his vote the most, it nearly never comes.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) before the vote noted Pompeo co-sponsored a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would have allowed states to refuse to recognize the marriages of gays and lesbians. The full Senate will vote on his nomination later this week.

"I think also Pompeo going to North Korea at the behest of the President, some have said this says more about the President than Pompeo, but at the same time, it's an openness to communication", he told MSNBC.

The senator said he had spoken with the president about Pompeo's support of the Iraq war and the USA presence in Afghanistan.

Pompeo's nomination will now proceed to a vote by the complete Senate, where the support of at least three Democrats guarantees its passage. That changed significantly past year when Rex Tillerson's nomination was approved on a largely party-line vote of 56-43 that saw just four Democrats cross the line to vote yes. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, last week became the first Democrat to announce her support for Pompeo.

On Monday, White House officials again urged Senate Democrats to support Pompeo's nomination, with White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying on Fox News Channel that the administration hopes "that some members will change their minds".

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Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, expressed "joy" and "satisfaction" after his secret meeting earlier this month in Pyongyang with Mike Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, saying the two men share the "same kind of guts", according to sources.

On paper, Mike Pompeo's credentials for high office are impeccable.

Senator Chris Coons left the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee choking back tears this week. He said it would have been "heartless" to shuttle Isakson off his return flight straight to a delayed committee vote when the outcome was a foregone conclusion. Paul cited assurances he received from Pompeo that he agrees with President Donald Trump's position that the USA should recede from Afghanistan as the chief reason for changing his mind, among other considerations.

A former U.S. Congressman, Pompeo said he believes life begins at conception. Last week, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., told reporters that "the Senate will set [the panel] straight" if it refuses to endorse Pompeo's nomination.

Pompeo is far from the worst of Trump's picks and, if he is confirmed and lives up to his confirmation hearing pledges, he has the potential to be one of the better ones.

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