Pompeo becomes next U.S. secretary of state

Mike Pompeo may speak like a tea party tub-thumper but he deserves a chance

The US Senate has confirmed the nomination of former Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo for the office of the secretary of state.

"No other Secretary of State in modern history has travelled so soon after confirmation", said Mrs Nauert.

Mr. Pompeo was expected to be sworn in nearly immediately after the vote, after which he planned to dash to Joint Base Andrews, where a plane was waiting to fly him to Brussels on his first trip overseas as secretary of state for a meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Pompeo, a former Army officer who was a Republican congressman, is regarded as a Trump loyalist with hawkish world views.

President Donald Trump is applauding the Senate's confirmation of Mike Pompeo as secretary of state.

Mr. Pompeo also managed to avoid what would have been an embarrassing rebuke on his way into the new post, as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had seemed likely to not recommend his confirmation. Earlier this week, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, the nominee's main Republican antagonist, bowed to pressure from President Trump to drop his objections.

"Beyond the implications for the USA relationship with Iran and the other nations that signed the Iran accord, abandoning a successful nuclear agreement for no good reason will send a bad signal to North Korea just weeks before Trump is expected to meet with Kim Jong-un in pursuit of another nuclear agreement".

The senator also asked how Pompeo would explain his rhetoric to people from various faiths who wear turbans including Sikhs, Punjabis or Muslims in India - which he called a "critically important ally" - or Orthodox Christians in the Horn of Africa or tribal leaders in Afghanistan - a country with which the United States is trying to build a good relationship "based on democracy and human rights".

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Sen. Joe Donnelly of IN was one of four Democrats to vote for Pompeo's approval. John McCain who is still in Arizona battling brain cancer and was not present for the vote.

The midday confirmation vote in the US Senate comes days after a dramatic last-minute flip by Republican Senator Rand Paul gave Pompeo, now the CIA Director, a narrow edge among committee members.

"These concerns are beyond policy disagreements, which alone are not a basis for rejecting a nominee", Senator Robert Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on the Senate floor as Senators debated on the Secretary of State nomination of Pompeo. Pompeo would then race to a plane waiting to take him to Belgium for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting. He told Fox News at the time he was anxious Pompeo's "desire for security will trump his defense of liberty".

But he said during his confirmation hearing that he was open to fixing, rather than blowing apart, the pact, which the West believes is key to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.

Ahead of his confirmation vote, the State Department was making contingency plans for Pompeo to travel to Brussels for a meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign ministers immediately after his swearing-in, administration officials said.

Mike Pompeo is a man of action and all indications are he plans to be out front as Secretary of State.

U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) specifically cited Pompeo's positions on LGBT-specific issues as among the reasons they opposed his nomination.

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