After the Late Voting Switch, the Senate Panel approves Pompeo for Secretary of State

With two moderate Democrats who expressed their support for Mr. Pompeo on Monday, the confirmation of the top US diplomat by the Senate plenary this week was badured anyway.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican and majority leader, tries to move the entire chamber to start the debate on Mr. Pompeo's nomination on Wednesday, and a final vote is expected before senators split Friday for a one-week break.

But the supporters of Pompeo feared that he would become the country's seventieth secretary of state with a concussion on the world stage after a reprimand by the Committee on Foreign Relations.

"I understand the climate we are in. I understand the polarization we have as a nation," Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the committee chairman, said Monday. But Mr. Corker promoted Mr. Pompeo as one of the most qualified secretaries of state in history, marking his regret.

Even on Monday, Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, had to vote "present" to allow the nomination to go ahead after Senator Johnny Isakson, a Republican from Georgia and supporter of Pompeo, did not show up because He was pronouncing a compliment outside the city.

But the partisan atmosphere that Corker lamented, in the end, provided Mr. Pompeo with an elevator. The Democrats for re-election in the states that Trump led in 2016 broke the candidate's path: Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana pledged their support on Monday, joining Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who declared it "yes". "Vote last week." Other Democrats in danger from Trump states are under pressure to also fall in line.

On Monday, White House officials fired on Democratic senators, whom they said were hampering candidates of the president without a good cause.

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Mr. Trump, writing on Twitter, labeled those who voted against Mr. Pompeo "Obstructionists" and said he needed more Republicans in office instead.

It's Hard to Believe Obstructionists You can vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Democrats will not approve hundreds of good people, including the ambbadador in Germany. They are maximizing the time in the approval process for all, never before had happened. Needs more Republicans!

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
April 23, 2018

Mr. Trump did not include Mr. Paul in his criticism. The president said last week that Paul was a "very special guy" who "never disappointed me".

The Democrats of the Committee stood firm against their opposition.

"It's not a political difference," said Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, before casting a vote against Mr. Pompeo. "I do not want to vote for people who are anti-diplomatic to be the nation's chief diplomat."

Historically, the Senate has granted deference to presidents to elect their chief diplomat. President Barack Obama twice entered the ranks of the chamber to elect a secretary of state, first raising Hillary Clinton and then John F. Kerry for the role. Both received 94 votes to confirm their nominations, opposed by only a handful of their Senate colleagues.

Mr. Pompeo's predecessor, Rex W. Tillerson, was confirmed 56 to 43 by the Senate in February 2017. It was approved by the Committee on Foreign Relations by a vote of 11 to 10 along the lines of the party. Mr. Trump fired Mr. Tillerson, a former oil executive who never really connected with the president, in March in favor of Pompeo, a former tea party congressman with whom he has developed a close relationship.

At a briefing Monday afternoon at the White House, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, dismissed the Democratic opposition as "a mindless obsession to score cheap political points with her base as a voluntary attempt to undermine US diplomacy. "

Democrats, many of whom voted for Mr. Pompeo's confirmation as CIA director, dispute that claim, saying that his problems with Mr. Pompeo derive from something other than distaste for the president's foreign policy.

As a member of the four-period Kansas House, Mr. Pompeo gained a reputation as a sharp-tongued conservative supporter. He first appeared on Mr. Trump's radar in 2015 when, while still a member of the House, he peppered Ms. Clinton with scorching questions in a hearing on the deadly attacks in 2012 in Benghazi, Libya. Mr. Pompeo called Mrs. Clinton, then on the way to becoming the Democratic presidential candidate, "morally reprehensible."

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Democrats also point to Mr. Pompeo's comments that claim to betray prejudice against bad, gay, bibadual and transgender people and against Muslims.

As he has tried to win the senators to support him in the work of the State Department, Mr. Pompeo has tried to minimize these positions. At his confirmation hearing this month, Mr. Pompeo presented himself in moderate terms. He promised to defend the rights of homobaduals around the world, work to rescue Iran's nuclear agreement and reverse the marginalization of the administration of US diplomats under Mr. Tillerson.

The Senate Intelligence Committee will formally consider Mr. Trump's candidate to replace Mr. Pompeo at the CIA, Gina Haspel, at a hearing on May 9. The nomination of Mrs. Haspel is similarly dividing Republicans and Democrats in the chamber.

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