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

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"One of the reasons I was anxious about Director Pompeo because when I've asked him repeatedly was the Iraq war a mistake, President Trump has said it was a mistake, do you say it was a mistake, I wasn't getting a direct answer", he said of his change of heart.

Following his confirmation, the ADL wished Pompeo success in his new job.

Trump says, "Having a patriot of Mike's vast talent, energy, and intellect leading the Department of State will be an incredible asset for our country at this critical time in history".

"When Pompeo and Trump's new national security adviser John Bolton meet in the Oval Office, Trump will have an anti-Iran, pro-regime change hawk on both shoulders", Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political Affairs at Peace Action, said in a statement reacting to Thursday's vote.

Several Democrats running for re-election in states won by Trump voted for Pompeo. "The Secretary looks forward to meeting key Allies and partners on his first official trip as Secretary of State", Nauert said.

Past secretaries of state, including Condoleezza Rice, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton have breezed through their respective confirmations. It's one of the slimmest margins for the job in recent history. Every past nominee to get a roll call vote since at least the Carter administration received 85 or more yes votes in the Senate, with the exception of Trump's first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who got 56.

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While in Congress, Pompeo was an outspoken opponent of the Iran nuclear accord. Pompeo, in a statement relayed by the State Department, said he was "delighted" to serve as America's top diplomat.

Pompeo has been deeply engaged in the administration's efforts on North Korea and recently traveled to Pyongyang.

The U.S. Senate handily confirmed Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo as secretary of state as reports said one of his first tours in the job would be to Israel.

Pompeo's confirmation comes after weeks of uncertainty as to whether he would make it through the Senate at all, given the robust objection from almost every corner of civil society and with theearly opposition of Sen. He's expected to have an easier time in the full Senate, though the tally will still likely be close.

Pompeo takes the helm ahead of Trump's expected decision about whether to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal by a May 12 deadline and reimpose sanctions on Tehran. There is no permanent undersecretary for arms control and worldwide security affairs, for example, which would be integral parts of proposed talks with North Korea as its leader, Kim Jong Un, conducts missile tests and threatens the United States.