Senate panel approves Pompeo for secretary of state

Pauline Gross
April 25, 2018

Paul's key concern had been that Pompeo, now director of the Central Intelligence Agency, would not support Trump's campaign pledge to pull troops out of Afghanistan. He was out of town delivering a eulogy at his best friend's funeral, senators said.

The committee voted 11 to 9 in favor of advancing Pompeo's nomination, with Democratic Senator Chris Coons, D-Del., voting "present" and Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Geo., voting by proxy. Rather than postpone voting until his return very late Monday, Coons agreed to allowed his vote to be recorded as "present" so the committee could finish its work.

"Senators, if confirmed, I would raise my hand and swear an oath to defend our Constitution for the seventh time in my life".

Liberal legislators in the Senate continued their struggle this week to derail President Trump's pick to head the State Department, saying they have "great concerns" over Mike Pompeo's qualifications to become the nation's top diplomat. But other Democrats have been peeling away, and Pompeo is not likely to have enough support Monday for a favorable recommendation from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., announced her support for Pompeo, one group called on her to switch. We need a Secretary of State who will give the president an honest assessment on critical issues, including Russia, Syria, and the defeat of ISIS.

Paul had beensteadfast in his pledge to block Pompeo.

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Senators like Chris Coons, D-Delaware, who was among the last Democrats on the foreign relations panel to announce his no vote, have said they're concerned that Pompeo won't speak up when he disagrees with the president, that he "will embolden, rather than moderate or restrain" Trump's "most belligerent and unsafe instincts". Cotton also issued a threat to Democratic senators such as Manchin and Heitkamp who are facing hard elections, noting that if they oppose Pompeo "and they're up for reelection, they may suffer the consequences".

Before the Committee vote Monday, President Trump berated Democrats for obstructionism.

"A Republican senator is not going to be the deciding vote to block a Republican president's nominee for secretary of state, period", a GOP strategist told the Examiner.

Generally speaking, the Senate has been quite deferential in confirming a President's choice for Secretary of State. "The second is not reasonable", said Ronald Neumann, president of the American Academy of Diplomacy and a former career diplomat.

Other reports by GizPress

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