SPONSORED:

Senate confirms Pompeo as Trump's new secretary of State

The Senate confirmed CIA Director Mike PompeoMike PompeoBiden faces day of reckoning on China and Taiwan Nikki Haley says if Trump runs for president in 2024 then she won't Blinken: China 'didn't do what it needed to do' in early stages of pandemic MORE to be secretary of State on Thursday, overcoming steep opposition to his nomination.

Senators voted 57-42, well over the simple majority needed for approval by the chamber.

Pompeo’s confirmation was a virtual lock after Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRepublicans need to stop Joe Biden's progressive assault on America Fauci fatigue sets in as top doc sows doubt in vaccine effectiveness Republican legislators target private sector election grants MORE (R-Ky.) reversed his position and said he would support Trump’s pick.

ADVERTISEMENT

The announcement came amid an intense pressure campaign by the White House and spared Pompeo the dubious distinction of being the first secretary of State nominee since at least 1925 to fail to win over the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“After calling continuously for weeks for Director Pompeo to support President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE’s belief that the Iraq war was a mistake, and that it is time to leave Afghanistan, today I received confirmation that Director Pompeo agrees with President Trump,” Rand said explaining his decision.

But Pompeo’s nomination faced historic opposition from Democrats, sparking an unusually partisan confirmation fight for a secretary of State nomination.

Democratic Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampBill Maher blasts removal of journalist at Teen Vogue Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives Harrison seen as front-runner to take over DNC at crucial moment MORE (N.D.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinFive hurdles Democrats face to pass an infrastructure bill Nixed Interior nominee appointed to different department role  Against mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan MORE (W.Va.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEverybody wants Joe Manchin Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big MORE (Ind.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonWhy does Rep. Johnson oppose NASA's commercial human landing system? Trump hands Rubio coveted reelection endorsement in Florida Overnight Defense: Top House Armed Services Republican talks National Guard at Capitol, Afghanistan, more | Pentagon chief visits Afghanistan amid administration's review | Saudis propose Yemen ceasefire MORE. (Fla.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden tasks Harris on border; news conference today Missouri Senate candidate Eric Greitens tangles with Hugh Hewitt in testy interview The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - CDC news on gatherings a step toward normality MORE (Mo.) — who are each up for reelection in states won by Trump in 2016 — joined with Democratic Sen. Doug Jones (Ala.) and Sen. Angus KingAngus KingBipartisan lawmakers signal support for Biden cybersecurity picks Groups petition EPA to remove ethane and methane from list of compounds exempt from emissions limits Lack of cyber funds in Biden infrastructure plan raises eyebrows MORE (I-Maine) to support his nomination. 

"In his role at the CIA, Mr. Pompeo has demonstrated the ability to be an effective manager and operator on the world stage," Jones said in a statement explaining his decision to back Pompeo.

But that’s substantially less than the 14 Democrats plus King, who caucuses with the Democrats, who supported Pompeo last year to be CIA director.

Pompeo is poised to come close to a record on opposition votes received by a secretary of State nominee. That record is currently held by Trump’s first secretary of State, Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonBiden's is not a leaky ship of state — not yet With salami-slicing and swarming tactics, China's aggression continues Lawmakers to roll out legislation reorganizing State cyber office MORE, who was confirmed 56-43 last year.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHolder, Yates lead letter backing Biden pick for Civil Rights Division at DOJ Capitol Police officer killed in car attack lies in honor in Capitol Rotunda Rep. Andy Kim on Asian hate: 'I've never felt this level of fear' MORE (D-N.Y.), who supported Pompeo to be CIA director, said this week that he would oppose him, in part, because of the investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election.

Schumer told reporters that he asked Pompeo if he would publicly urge Trump not to fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE or Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinProtect the police or the First Amendment? Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Comey argues Trump shouldn't be prosecuted after leaving Oval Office MORE, but Pompeo “demurred.”

Pompeo, according to Schumer, also refused to walk back some of Trump's "nasty comments" about American Muslims or individuals from South Asia.

"I am voting 'no' for those reasons, and I think people have good reasons to vote 'no' for Secretary Pompeo, both on the foreign policy sphere, and in these areas," Schumer added

Pompeo’s confirmation was a setback for liberals, who wanted to force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell seeks to end feud with Trump Senate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill Colin Powell on Afghanistan: 'We've done all we can do' MORE (R-Ky.) to try to discharge Pompeo’s nomination from the committee. The unusual move would have required 60 votes and given Democrats an opening to try block Pompeo — the first time they would have been able to scuttle a Trump nominee on the Senate floor. 

But that strategy failed to take hold as vulnerable Democrats began coming out in support of Pompeo's nomination.

Red-state Democrats faced intense pressure from both sides, with progressive groups urging them to block Trump’s “war cabinet” and conservatives arguing opposition was a sign they were too liberal for their home states.

“So, what are red state Dems to do? Placate the base to pass the liberal Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisCongressional Black Caucus members post selfie celebrating first WH visit in four years Harris: Daunte Wright 'should be alive today' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Biden, lawmakers start down a road with infrastructure MORE litmus test? Or vote to confirm Pompeo? Either way red state Dems are left in a no-win situation,” Katie Martin, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), said ahead of the vote.

Democratic Sens. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's infrastructure plan triggers definition debate Lawmakers say fixing border crisis is Biden's job Five things to watch on Biden infrastructure plan MORE (Mont.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowFive things to watch on Biden infrastructure plan Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand electric vehicle charging tax credit Bottom line MORE (Mich.) and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDemocrats divided on gun control strategy Senate Democrats call on DHS for details on response to Portland protests Dems' momentum hits quagmire over infrastructure plans MORE Jr. (Pa.) were among the red and purple state senators who opposed Pompeo. Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerA bold fix for US international taxation of corporations Democrats offer competing tax ideas on Biden infrastructure Five ways an obscure Senate ruling could change Washington MORE (D-Va.), who isn't up for reelection but supported Pompeo to be CIA director, announced his opposition moments before the vote.

With Paul’s reversal, Pompeo technically didn’t need help from Democrats. With Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump knocks CNN for 'completely false' report Gaetz was denied meeting The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Biden, lawmakers start down a road with infrastructure Sylvester Stallone reportedly joins Trump's Mar-a-Lago MORE (R-Ariz.) away from Washington, he still could have gotten a 50-49 vote if every Democrat had ultimately decided to oppose him.

But Republicans lashed out at Democrats throughout the week. Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE (R-Colo.), the chairman of the NRSC, accused Democrats of “procedural sabotage.”

McConnell on Thursday called the Democratic tactics a failed attempt to “play politics.”

“It’s just too bad Director Pompeo’s confirmation process has offered such a prime example of the historic partisan obstruction that my colleagues across the aisle are visiting on the Senate,” he said.