The Senate on Thursday voted to confirm Richard Grenell as the next ambassador to Germany, a position that had been vacant since January 2017.
The 56-42 vote to confirm President Donald Trump's nominee for the ambassadorship to Germany came a day before German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to meet with Trump at the White House, where she is expected to push the president not to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, HuffPost reported.
Grenell, a Republican and close political ally of Trump, has a background in communications and worked with incoming national security adviser John Bolton at the United Nations under President George W. Bush. He also worked briefly as a national security and foreign policy spokesman on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2012.
Trump had reportedly considered Grenell for the U.S. ambassadorship to the United Nations before nominating Nikki Haley, a former U.S. representative, for the position.
With his confirmation, Grenell becomes one of the most prominent openly gay Trump appointees. Grenell's supporters include Stuart Milk, co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation and nephew of the late gay civil rights leader. Milk told the New York Times in March that he believed Grenell's confirmation would "send an important message" to the LGBTQ community about their place in the Trump administration.
Trump nominated Grenell back in September, but Senate Democrats successfully blocked his nomination for months, with some opposing confirmation because of past tweets from Grenell that they characterize as disparaging to women. On Thursday, however, six Democrats from states that Trump won in 2016, most of whom face uphill reelection battles this year, voted for Grenell: Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), and Jon Tester (Mont.).
Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) initially threatened to derail the nomination before changing his mind after speaking with Trump and Pompeo about the Iraq War being a "mistake."
The Democratic and independent senators who voted to confirm Pompeo include Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.), Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (D., Ind.), Doug Jones (D., Ala.), Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), and Angus King (I., Maine).