Senate Confirms Pompeo for Secretary of State in Near Party-Line Vote

Mike Pompeo / Getty Images
April 26, 2018

The U.S. Senate approved President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Department of State, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, in a 57-42 vote Thursday.

By comparison, former President Barack Obama's nominees, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, were confirmed with 94-3 and 94-2 votes respectively.

Pompeo's nomination was supported by every Republican, a handful of red-state Democrats, and Maine's independent senator.

Throughout the confirmation process, Republicans and even some media outlets criticized opposition from Democrats, saying Pompeo was qualified for the position and should be confirmed.

The New York Daily News editorial board, known for being consistently on the left, said that while Pompeo would not be its first choice for secretary of state, he is a "solid-enough selection who deserves Senate consent."

During his confirmation hearing, however, Pompeo faced criticism for his rhetoric on Iran and claims he is a hawk who would lead the country into war.

Several Democratic senators pushed against Pompeo for his stance on social issues, including opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

Sen. Cory Booker (D.) used his time during the hearing to ask Pompeo if he thought being gay is a "perversion."

New Hampshire Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said she had "deep concerns" over Pompeo's past remarks about "the LGBTQ community, American Muslims and women's reproductive rights."

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)

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday morning where he defended Pompeo and condemned Democrats' opposition.

"Unfortunately, many Democratic senators are opposing Mike’s nomination, and they’ve given their reasons. But I have to say, those reasons don’t hold up very well under scrutiny," Cotton said.