Former CIA director Mike Pompeo has been sworn in as the 70th US secretary of state after Senate confirmed his nomination, overcoming steep opposition by Democrats against President Donald Trump’s pick.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito administered the oath on Thursday afternoon, after Senators voted 57-42 in favor of Pompeo, who is accused by Democrats of being hawkish and harboring a deep hatred against Muslims.
Pompeo’s confirmation came after Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) reversed his position and announced his support for Trump’s pick.
“After calling continuously for weeks for Director Pompeo to support President Trump’s belief that the Iraq war was a mistake, and that it is time to leave Afghanistan, today I received confirmation that Director Pompeo agrees with President Trump,” Rand said explaining his decision.
Pompeo’s nomination faced historic opposition from Democrats.
However, at the end Democratic Senators Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Bill Nelson. (Fla.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) joined with Democratic Sen. Doug Jones (Ala.) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) to support Pompeo’s nomination.
“In his role at the CIA, Mr. Pompeo has demonstrated the ability to be an effective manager and operator on the world stage,” Senator Jones said in a statement explaining his decision to back Pompeo.
Trump in a statement congratulated his new secretary of state.
“Having a patriot of Mike’s immense talent, energy and intellect leading the Department of State will be an incredible asset for our country at this critical time in history,” Trump said.
“He will always put the interests of America first. He has my trust. He has my support. Today, he has my congratulations on becoming America’s 70th Secretary of State.”
After the swearing-in ceremony, Pompeo said in a statement that he was “completely humbled by the responsibility” of his new post.
“I’m looking forward to serving the American people and getting to work right away,” he added.
Pompeo replaced Tillerson, who was fired by Trump in March.
Tensions between Tillerson and Trump have been simmering for months, sometimes visibly. The two have publicly diverged on some of the administration’s most crucial foreign policy challenges, including Iran, Russia and North Korea.
Trump noted the differences he had with Tillerson. “When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible. I guess he thought it was okay,” the president said of Tillerson.
Tillerson was reported to have privately called Trump a “moron” in July after the president suggested a 10-fold increase in the US nuclear arsenal during a meeting at the Pentagon.
source: press tv