Web Desk(April 27, 2018): The US Senate confirmed Mike Pompeo as President Donald Trump’s secretary of state, and the former CIA director set off immediately on a trip to meet key allies in Europe and the Middle East.
Pompeo, a former Army officer who was a Republican congressman, is regarded as a Trump loyalist with hawkish world views.
Pompeo is already deeply involved in diplomacy. Trump sent him to North Korea three weeks ago to meet with the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, ahead of a summit with the US president to address Pyongyang’s nuclear program.Moments after Pompeo was sworn in, the State Department said he would visit Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel during the weekend after attending a NATO meeting on Friday in Brussels.
Pompeo picked those three Middle East stops “because of all that is going on,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters.
Iran is likely to be on the agenda on the Middle East leg of his trip. Trump will decide by May 12 whether to restore US economic sanctions on Tehran, which would be a severe blow to the 2015 nuclear pact between Iran and six major powers.Pompeo is to meet with Saudi King Salman, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an Jordanian King Abdullah, Nauert said.
Senators in the Republican-controlled chamber voted 57-42 in favor of Pompeo, who had faced resistance from Democrats worried about his reputation for hawkishness and past harsh statements about homosexuality and Islam.
Six Democrats and one independent who normally votes with Democrats backed Pompeo. No Republican voted no.