US Senate Confirms Mike Pompeo As Secretary Of State

Mike Pompeo and Richard Grenell

Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been sworn in as the 70th USA secretary of state after the Senate voted to confirm him, 57-42.

Just over one hour later, he was sworn in as secretary of state by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito at the White House. Pompeo then rushed to the Supreme Court for his swearing in, and then to Joint Base Andrews, where he departed to Brussels for his first official trip as secretary of state.

Additional coverage of this story is available from ABC News, Fox News, Newsweek, POLITICO, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

Pompeo faced unprecedented opposition to his becoming the nation's top diplomat - many Democrats who just a year ago voted to confirm him as Central Intelligence Agency director publicly opposed him as the next secretary of state.

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Barely 12 hours after being sworn in, Pompeo went straight to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters yesterday to hammer home one of his boss's oldest themes - demanding that other members pay their way - as the allies sought a common front against Russian Federation.

Opponents also anxious that Pompeo was too hawkish, and said his past remarks about homosexuals and Islam made him unsuitable to represent the United States on the world stage.

Last year, Pompeo had little trouble clinching the confirmation to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

"He's the flawless person to come in at this time and lead those efforts", Republican Senator Bob Corker, who chairs the foreign relations panel, said on the Senate floor moments before Pompeo was confirmed.

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Pompeo is a former Republican congressman from Kansas. Pompeo used his confirmation hearing to try to soften that image, edging away from past comments about regime change in North Korea. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Yet the Senate vote followed an uneasy confirmation process for Pompeo that underscored Trump's growing difficulties in getting nominees in place for top positions.

Pompeo is expected to be sworn in nearly immediately.

The approval came in time for Pompeo to lead the US 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.

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