With fifty-seven voting for and forty-two voting against, US senators have approved the nomination of Mike Pompeo for the position of the US top diplomat.
The US Senate endorsed Mike Pompeo, who has been holding the position of CIA head since January 23, 2017, as the 70th secretary of state on April 26.
Now Pompeo has to be sworn in. He will replace acting Secretary of State John Sullivan, who has been performing the functions of the number one US diplomat since former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was dismissed in March. Thus, Pompeo will serve as the second secretary of state under Donald Trump. Since the Carter administration, all nominees to the position have received 85 or more votes — with the exception of Tillerson, who received 56.
Earlier, Pompeo was approved by the Foreign Relations Committee with an edge of just two votes. He became the first candidate to be endorsed with such a thin margin.
Chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ed Royce said in a statement that he is optimistic about working with the newly confirmed secretary of state:
“I’m confident Secretary Pompeo will steer the Department in the right direction, and I look forward to partnering with him to advance America’s interests overseas,” Royce said.
Royce added that Pompeo’s confirmation comes at a critical time for US foreign policy when a stronger, more vibrant State Department is required.
US President Donald Trump also said in his statement, that Pompeo has his trust and support, adding that Pompeo’s talent “will be an incredible asset” for the country “at this critical time in history.”
Pompeo already started his diplomatic work prior to the confirmation with his visit to North Korea at the beginning of April to lay the groundwork for the upcoming summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Trump and Kim will meet in May or early June at a location that is yet to be determined and it will not be in the United States.
While heading the CIA, Pompeo was said to have utilized a “gloves off” approach in engaging the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Pompeo said during his confirmation hearing before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the failed state of Syria deserves a severe response because of the threat it poses to national security and regional stability.
He also said that the United States must end its “soft policy” toward Russia, do more to enforce sanctions via the Magnitsky Act and the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
Pompeo also said the United States should continue to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons and maintain sanctions against Russia.