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Senate approves Trump's Army pick

Senate approves Trump's Army pick
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The Senate easily confirmed President Trump's pick to lead the Army on Wednesday.

Senators voted 89-6 on Mark Esper's nomination to be secretary of the Army. Democratic Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandIntelligence leaders warn of threats from China, domestic terrorism Jon Stewart accuses VA of being 'an obstacle' to burn pits medical care Family policy that could appeal to the right and the left MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisMedia complicity in rise of the 'zombie president' conspiracy Trump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle DC goes to the dogs — Major and Champ, that is MORE (Calif.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyDemocratic Rep. Mondaire Jones calls on Breyer to retire Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents Progressives put Democrats on defense MORE (Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyA proposal to tackle congressional inside trading: Invest in the US Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents Lobbying world MORE (Ore.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWorld passes 3 million coronavirus deaths Poll: 56 percent say wealth tax is part of solution to inequality Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents MORE (Mass.), along with independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP believes Democrats handing them winning 2022 campaign Senators in the dark on parliamentarian's decision World passes 3 million coronavirus deaths MORE (Vt.), opposed the nomination.

Esper was expected to easily clear the Senate after being voice voted out of the the Armed Services Committee earlier this month and senators agreed to skip over procedural hurdles that could have slowed down his nomination on the floor.

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Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGeorge W. Bush: 'It's a problem that Americans are so polarized' they can't imagine him being friends with Michelle Obama Congress brings back corrupt, costly, and inequitably earmarks Trump knocks CNN for 'completely false' report Gaetz was denied meeting MORE (R-Ariz.) praised Esper ahead of the Senate's vote Wednesday, noting his experience both in the military and on Capitol Hill.

“Our soldiers continue to prove their commitment, courage, skill and determination. In return, we owe them the same kind of leadership. I believe Dr. Esper will provide that leadership. I am proud to support Dr. Esper’s nomination and ask my colleagues to do the same," McCain said.

The Trump nominee most recently worked as a vice president at Raytheon and lobbied for the defense contractor, with senators raising concerns about his ties to the industry during his hearing.

Esper made more than $1.5 million over 12 months in his job as a lobbyist for Raytheon, according to a financial disclosure he filed earlier this year with the Office of Government Ethics.

He has pledged to recuse himself from Raytheon-related matters.

Esper's nomination was also temporarily in limbo as McCain held up Pentagon nominees over a lack of details on the administration's plan for the war in Afghanistan.

Esper graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1986 and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring. 

His Capitol Hill experience includes serving as director of national security affairs for then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), as well as policy director for the House Armed Services Committee and a senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.