With the help of six Democrats and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), the Senate on Thursday helped President Donald Trump move one step closer to completing his war cabinet by confirming the ultra-hawkish torture supporter Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State by a vote of 57-42.
"When Pompeo and Trump's new national security adviser John Bolton meet in the Oval Office, Trump will have an anti-Iran, pro-regime change hawk on both shoulders."
—Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action
"The Senate has made a mistake of historic proportions by rubber-stamping Donald Trump's war cabinet," Jamal Abdi, executive director of NIAC Action, said in a statement following Thursday's vote. "The U.S. appears headed towards a catastrophic exit from the Iran deal in spite of the pleas of our closest allies and Mike Pompeo will only encourage Trump off the brink."
Pompeo's confirmation comes after weeks of uncertainty as to whether he would make it through the Senate at all, given the robust objection from nearly every corner of civil society and with theearly opposition of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
But Paul's opposition proved flimsy earlier this week, when Paul caved to pressure from Trump and decided to support Pompeo, allowing him to advance out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a favorable recommendation.
While most Democrats voted against Pompeo on Thursday because of his long record of warmongering, Islamophobia, support for torture, and climate denial, six so-called moderate Democratic senators decided to break with their party and join the unanimous Republican caucus in backing Trump's Secretary of State pick.
In addition to King, these are the Senate Democrats who voted to confirm Pompeo: Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), and Bill Nelson (Fla.).
Mike Pompeo is an Islamophobic, anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice zealot. The Senate just confirmed him as Secretary of State—including these 6 Democrats: @SenDonnelly, @SenatorHeitkamp, @DougJones, @clairecmc, @Sen_JoeManchin, & @SenBillNelson. #StopPompeo #BlockPompeo pic.twitter.com/jmHxd1ycpR
— NARAL (@NARAL) April 26, 2018
Voting yes for Pompeo won't be a deciding factor for a single voter during the general election. 6 Democrats did it anyway. https://t.co/ojdSWLIKUg
— People For Bernie (@People4Bernie) April 26, 2018
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"It is shocking that Senator Schumer and Democratic leadership could not hold their caucus together on this vote, or at the very least, succeed in making Pompeo's disastrous climate and environmental record a major factor in these proceedings," Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement on Thursday. "Democrats that jumped ship to support this dangerous climate denier must and will be held accountable by the people."
"Democrats that jumped ship to support this dangerous climate denier must and will be held accountable by the people."
—Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch
Pompeo—who has previously expressed support for regime change in Iran and North Korea—will take over as America's top diplomat at a time when Trump appears closer than ever to ripping up the Iran nuclear accord, a move experts warn will place the U.S. on a path to war.
"When Pompeo and Trump's new national security adviser John Bolton meet in the Oval Office, Trump will have an anti-Iran, pro-regime change hawk on both shoulders," Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political Affairs at Peace Action, said in a statement reacting to Thursday's vote. "If Trump withdraws from the [nuclear] agreement and Iran responds in kind, long-time advocates of military action against Iran, like Pompeo and Bolton, will see their arguments for war pick up steam in a renewed cycle of escalation of their own making."
To "protect against the completion of President Trump's war cabinet," Martin argued senators must block "the nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the C.I.A. on account of her role in overseeing and working to cover up evidence of torture."
Haspel's confirmation hearing is scheduled for May 9.