The Senate has now cleared Mike Pompeo to serve as the next Secretary of State. The decision comes with perfect timing as South and North Korea make a historic leap towards talks of peace. Pompeo will now serve as America’s top diplomat during high-intensity engagements—such as those with North Korea sure to already be in the works.
Pompeo is the outgoing CIA director and a West Point graduate. He is slated to be sworn in immediately and will depart within just hours on his first diplomatic voyage to Europe.
The vote in the Senate was 57-42, one of the closest votes in recent history. While every individual previously nominated since the Carter administration has passed with 85 or more votes, Pompeo received only 1 more than Tillerson (56-43).
Pompeo is also a former congressman from Kansas and will undoubtedly use his legislative experience to help guide President Trump in making sound foreign policy decisions. It is also expected that he will behave more right-leaning on issues than Tillerson, whom the president fired just last month.
Some claim he will be walking into a chaotic situation left by his predecessor Tillerson, who pushed hard budget cuts and left key positions unfilled.
The Senate’s unwillingness to give Pompeo a clear path to the nomination highlights a growing problem President Trump continues to face: obstructions to filling his cabinet. 2018 is well underway and the president still lacks senatorial support for key leadership positions in desperate need of being filled.
Some of the issues awaiting Pompeo’s attention include diplomacy decisions that must be made regarding Iran’s nuclear deal and approaching meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
When nominated for his previous position at the CIA, Pompeo received overwhelming Republican support and even garnered votes from six Democrats.
Backers for Pompeo emphasized his West Point experience and his Harvard Law school background, as well as his close relationship with the president on the tumultuous situation in North Korea.
Pompeo actually traveled to Pyongyang, the capital of the hermit kingdom, over Easter weekend and met with Kim Jong-un ahead of the president’s planned meeting in June.
Speaking of his upcoming difficulties with North Korea, Republican Senator Bob Corker from Tennessee said “He’s the perfect person to come in at this time and lead those efforts.”