The U.S. Senate voted on Thursday to approve former CIA Director Mike Pompeo as secretary of state after a bruising battle by Democrats against President Donald J. Trump‘s nominee.
Pompeo, who has earned Trump’s confidence after a year at the CIA, was accused by Democrats as being too bellicose and harboring deep anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ sentiments.
Ridiculous though that so many Senate Dems voted NO. Hillary Clinton received 94 votes. John Kerry received 94 as well. Mike Pompeo received 57, bc of this lighting our hair on fire "resistance" to oppose everything & anything. That's exactly why they are in the minority.
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) April 26, 2018
The approval came in time for Pompeo to lead the U.S. delegation to NATO foreign minister talks in Brussels this weekend and to arrange a summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in the coming months.
— Foreign Affairs Cmte (@HouseForeign) April 26, 2018
Promoted ‘vicious’ CIA
As director of the CIA, Pompeo has matched the tone of Trump’s foreign policy pronouncements.
“The CIA, to be successful, must be aggressive, vicious, unforgiving, relentless,” he has warned, and he has joked about assassinating foreign leaders like Kim.
He has reportedly readily accommodated the president’s aversion to reading long reports by having staff prepare simple graphic presentations of global risks and threats.
When pressed in public, he has endorsed the January 2017 U.S. intelligence report that concludes Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential race to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.
Pompeo has been a stern critic of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, an accord seen as a victory for non-proliferation by America’s allies, but as a capitulation by anti-Iran hardliners.
During Pompeo’s nomination hearing, Republican Senator Rand Paul complained that he could be so hawkish that he works against Trump’s instinct to avoid costly foreign adventures.
Paul, however, ended up voting to confirm Pompeo after Trump called him and assured him that the new secretary shares his ambition to pull U.S. forces out of Syria and Afghanistan.