Washington, April 24: A US Senate panel has narrowly endorse Mike Pompeo as the new Secretary of State after President Donald Trump and a Republican Senator intervened at the last minute, the media reported.
Pompeo had seemed unlikely to secure a majority of the panel's support. But Senator Rand Paul, who had pledged to oppose him, tweeted moments before the vote on Monday that Trump had talked with him and changed his mind, reports The Washington Post. "Having received assurances from President Trump and Director Pompeo that he agrees with the President on these important issues, I have decided to support his nomination to be our next Secretary of State," Paul said.
Paul's key concern had been that Pompeo, currently director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), would not support Trump's pledge to pull troops out of Afghanistan. The Kentucky Senator also had called on Pompeo "to support President Trump's belief that the Iraq war was a mistake".
Trump praised the Senator after his change of heart on Pompeo, saying Paul "never let me down" and that "he's a good man". The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's voted 11 to 10 along party lines to endorse Pompeo. Last year, 14 Democrats voted to confirm Pompeo as CIA director, but several have already stated that they will not back him to serve as Secretary of State.
On Monday, White House officials again urged Senate Democrats to support Pompeo's nomination, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders saying that the administration hoped "that some members will change their minds", The Washington Post reported. (IANS)