Senate confirms Pompeo as Trump's new secretary of State

The Senate confirmed CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist US bans top Myanmar generals from country over attacks on Rohingya Muslims 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 PaulSenate ratifies long-stalled tax treaty On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses The buck stops here: How to restore accountability to the federal regulatory system 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 TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist 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 HeitkampTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand McConnell's Democratic challenger McGrath backtracks on Kavanaugh comments McConnell's Democratic challenger says she likely would have voted for Kavanaugh MORE (N.D.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Kentucky Democrat says primary challenge to McGrath 'might be helpful' McConnell's Democratic challenger McGrath backtracks on Kavanaugh comments MORE (W.Va.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries McConnell's Democratic challenger McGrath backtracks on Kavanaugh comments MORE (Ind.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDemocrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 Poll: Six Democrats lead Trump in Florida match-ups How Jim Bridenstine recruited an old enemy to advise NASA MORE. (Fla.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Feds allow campaigns to accept discounted cybersecurity services GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries 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 KingOvernight Defense: Highlights from Defense pick's confirmation hearing | Esper spars with Warren over ethics | Sidesteps questions on Mattis vs. Trump | Trump says he won't sell F-35s to Turkey Five things to watch for at Defense nominee's confirmation hearing Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid 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 TillersonPress: Acosta, latest to walk the plank A brief timeline of Trump's clashes with intelligence director Dan Coats What is Trump's Iran end game? MORE, who was confirmed 56-43 last year.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerLawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US Colombian official urges more help for Venezuelan migrants 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) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE or Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinFeds will not charge officer who killed Eric Garner The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Judiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates 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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout 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 HarrisHarris tops Biden in California 2020 poll The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Democrats fret over Trump cash machine 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) TesterTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi looks to squash fight with progressives Democratic senators want candidates to take Swalwell's hint and drop out MORE (Mont.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowGOP Senate challenger in Michigan raises .5 million in less than a month It's time to let Medicare to negotiate drug prices Trump judicial nominee says he withdrew over 'gross mischaracterizations' of record MORE (Mich.) and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyCrucial for Congress to fund life-saving diabetes research Republicans make U-turn on health care Democrats press IRS on guidance reducing donor disclosure requirements MORE Jr. (Pa.) were among the red and purple state senators who opposed Pompeo. Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency at hearing Lawmakers introduce bill to block U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand 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 McCainThe peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff Ocasio-Cortez fires back at Lindsey Graham: 'Graham wants to bring back 1950s McCarthyism' Meghan McCain knocks Lindsey Graham for defending Trump's tweets: 'This is not the person I used to know' 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 GardnerTrump angry more Republicans haven't defended his tweets: report The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout 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.