Tillerson Confirmed as Secretary of State

Full Senate votes on Trump's pick to lead State Department

Rex Tillerson / AP
February 1, 2017

Rex Tillerson was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as secretary of state in the administration of Donald Trump on Wednesday.

The Senate approved Tillerson, a former CEO of Exxon Mobil, in a 56 to 43 vote almost completely along party lines Wednesday afternoon. A simple majority of 51 votes was required for Tillerson to be confirmed.

Democrats signaled on Monday that they would try to delay Tillerson's nomination over questions about his support for Trump's 90-day ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations entering the United States. However, the Senate voted 56-43 on Monday to advance toward a final confirmation vote after up to 30 hours of debate.

Tillerson faced tough questions during his confirmation hearing in January over his past business dealings with Russia as CEO of oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil. His nomination was approved by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in a party-line vote last week, after Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) signaled his support for Tillerson.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said Monday that he would oppose any Cabinet nominee who supports Trump's immigration executive order unveiled last week. Schumer previously said he would oppose Tillerson's nomination.

"I've made it very clear I will vote NO on nominees DeVos (education), Tillerson (state) and Sessions (attorney general)," Schumer wrote on Facebook on Monday. "Nothing will change that, and while I will continue to demand that each nominee issue a public statement on his or her views of President Trump's Muslim Ban, I will vote against nominees who will be the very worst of this anti-immigrant, anti-middle-class, billionaires' club cabinet."

Only a handful of Trump's Cabinet picks have been confirmed to step into their roles. On Tuesday, Democrats boycotted scheduled votes, delaying the confirmations of Steven Mnuchin and Tom Price, Trump's choices for secretaries of the Treasury and Health and Human Services, respectively.