Senate confirms Pompeo as Trump's new secretary of State

The Senate confirmed CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTurkey: Trump working on cleric’s extradition Trump risks clash with Congress over Chinese executive Showdown at the Security Council? 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 PaulOvernight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force Lame-duck Congress should pass First Step Act Limited Senate access to CIA intelligence is not conspiracy MORE (R-Ky.) reversed his position and said he would support Trump’s pick.

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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 John TrumpFamily says Trump travel ban preventing mother from seeing dying son Saudi Arabia rejects Senate position on Khashoggi killing Five things to know about the Trump inauguration investigation 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 HeitkampHatch warns Senate 'in crisis' in farewell speech Dem senators Heitkamp, Donnelly urge bipartisanship in farewell speeches House passes bipartisan bill aimed at reversing rising maternal mortality rates MORE (N.D.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force Hillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber Manchin puts hold on FCC nomination over wireless internet fund delay MORE (W.Va.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyHatch warns Senate 'in crisis' in farewell speech Dem senators Heitkamp, Donnelly urge bipartisanship in farewell speeches Schumer gets ready to go on the offensive MORE (Ind.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonMcCaskill: 'Too many embarrassing uncles' in the Senate Bill Nelson uses farewell address to remind colleagues ‘no one person is above the law’ Coal supporter Manchin named top Dem on Senate Energy Committee MORE. (Fla.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Year Ahead: Tech braces for new scrutiny from Washington McCaskill: 'Too many embarrassing uncles' in the Senate FEC votes to allow lawmakers to use campaign funds for personal cybersecurity 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 Stanley KingLobbying World Dems have new moniker for Trump: ‘Unindicted co-conspirator' Maine senator calls impeachment 'last resort': 'We may get there, but we’re not there now' 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 TillersonAxelrod: Trump's Tillerson insults 'continue a disturbing portrait' Overnight Defense: Nauert tapped for UN envoy | Trump teases changes to Joint Chiefs of Staff | Trump knocks Tillerson as 'dumb as a rock' | Scathing report details Air Force failures before Texas shooting Trump: Tillerson 'dumb as a rock' MORE, who was confirmed 56-43 last year.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats must stand up for Israel Retired Gen. McChrystal: Sending troops to build wall could be seen as ‘misuse of power’ ‘It’s called transparency’ works for Trump on TV, not so much on campaign finance 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 Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE or Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinNo glory in James Comey getting away with his abuse of FBI power Mueller’s real challenge Graham vows to push Trump’s AG pick through Judiciary Committee 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 McConnellTrump finds himself isolated in shutdown fight Pelosi faces pressure to act on Saudi Arabia Make the First Step Act a smarter step by opening the risk assessment black box 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 Devi HarrisCory Booker addresses speculation about his sexuality: 'I'm heterosexual' Biden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The 2020 Democratic nomination will run through the heart of black America 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) TesterSenate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure Senate confirms Trump's pick to be deputy Treasury secretary O’Rourke is fireball, but not all Dems are sold MORE (Mont.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowCoal supporter Manchin named top Dem on Senate Energy Committee The Hill's Morning Report — Will Trump strike a deal with Chuck and Nancy? This week: Trump, Dems set to meet amid funding fight MORE (Mich.) and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyWould-be 2020 Dem candidates head for the exits O’Rourke, Brown shake up volatile Democratic horse race The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Democratic race for Speaker turns nasty MORE Jr. (Pa.) were among the red and purple state senators who opposed Pompeo. Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerTrump risks clash with Congress over Chinese executive The Year Ahead: Tech braces for new scrutiny from Washington Senate Intel leaders ask judge not to jail former aide amid leak investigation 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 will likely win reelection in 2020 Kevin McLaughlin tapped to serve as NRSC executive director for 2020 Kasich on death of 7-year-old in Border Patrol custody: 'Shame on Congress' 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 Scott GardnerSenators offer measure naming Saudi crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi slaying Can a rising tide of female legislators lift all boats? Setting the record straight about No Labels 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.