The US Senate voted on Thursday, April 26 to approve former Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State after a bruising battle by Democrats against President Donald Trump's nominee.
Pompeo's confirmation narrowly made it out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday after last-minute support from Republican Sen.
Pompeo faced unprecedented opposition to his becoming the nation's top diplomat - many Democrats who just a year ago voted to confirm him as Central Intelligence Agency director publicly opposed him as the next secretary of state. The White House has also released a photo of Pompeo shaking hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their secret meeting over Easter weekend. Republican Senator John McCain, who is being treated for cancer, was absent. He's expected to have an easier time in the full Senate, though the tally will still likely be close.
Pompeo takes the helm ahead of Trump's expected decision about whether to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal by a May 12 deadline and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
While in Congress, Pompeo was an outspoken opponent of the Iran nuclear accord.
Pompeo replaces Rex Tillerson, the former oil executive Trump fired in March after a year of tensions and turmoil in the State Department, where he alienated much of his staff and left the body deeply demoralized.
Pompeo will arrive in the region ahead of a series of events that could potentially plunge it into deeper disarray, including the Iran deal decision and the relocation of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.