Corker: Pompeo should be 'confirmed overwhelmingly'

In an interview with Dana Bash, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker discusses the upcoming vote on Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo

Posted: Apr 23, 2018 5:13 PM
Updated: Apr 23, 2018 5:26 PM

Sen. Rand Paul announced Monday that he will support the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be secretary of state, a last minute reversal that now avoids a historic rebuke of the President's pick to be the country's top diplomat.

The Kentucky Republican's decision will now allow Pompeo to be reported favorably out of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee.

"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 tweeted.

Paul's previous opposition put Pompeo on track for a historic distinction: the first secretary of state nominee not to win a favorable recommendation from the committee, according to the Senate Historical Office.

President Donald Trump had applied pressure publicly to Paul, calling him out last week for his opposition to his nominee and saying the Kentucky senator "never let me down." On Monday, after Paul's announcement, the President said Paul is "a good man."

"I said he'd never let us down," Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.

Gaveling in the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee on Monday, Chairman Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, apologized for the late start, but noted a few "entrepreneurial" things had occurred in the moments before the hearing, an apparent reference to the timing of Paul's change of vote.

Pompeo was still expected to advance for a full floor vote when Paul was planning to vote against him.

RELATED: Pompeo sets an irreversible course to meet Kim that Trump may not want

Trump tweeted about the opposition Pompeo in the hours before his vote, though the President highlighted Democrats.

"Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people, including the Ambassador to Germany. They are maxing out the time on approval process for all, never happened before. Need more Republicans!" Trump tweeted.

Democrats, for their part, have raised concerns with what they view as Pompeo's hawkish posture on foreign policy and lack of willingness to stand up to Trump, who has a well documented close relationship with the current CIA chief.

But Republicans have countered that the opposition is driven far more by Democratic dislike for the President than the nominee himself. Pompeo, a former congressman who graduated first in his class from the US military academy and received a degree from Harvard law, has moved into a central role in the Trump administration's negotiations with North Korea, secretly meeting with the country's reclusive leader Kim Jong Un earlier in the month. It's something supporters have touted as another example of why Pompeo is ready for the job as the country's top diplomat.

As for the full Senate vote, senior GOP aides are comfortable Pompeo will win enough support in his floor vote, after three Democrats said they'll vote for him. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat, is a "yes," which means he'd have the votes if all other Republicans -- minus Paul -- vote in favor. Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, tweeted Monday that he'd support Pompeo as well. And shortly after, Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana released a statement supporting Pompeo.

That means even if Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who has voiced concerns about Pompeo, ends up voting no, Pompeo should still be able to win confirmation.

There are two other currently undecided senators who caucus with the Democrats who are viewed as on the fence and possible yes votes: Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama and independent Sen. Angus King of Maine.

This story has been updated and will continue to update with additional developments.

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Ramsey2698110
Stearns199512
Nobles14963
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Dakota120249
Olmsted58210
Washington57630
Kandiyohi4761
Rice4232
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Scott3832
Todd2960
Wright2801
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Carver1892
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Martin1265
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Freeborn1020
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Redwood40
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Stevens10

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Confirmed Cases: 18559

Reported Deaths: 506
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3930118
Woodbury267232
Black Hawk172443
Linn94176
Marshall88215
Dallas87517
Buena Vista7020
Johnson6078
Muscatine54941
Wapello5456
Crawford4892
Tama40026
Scott35210
Louisa34210
Dubuque33418
Jasper25816
Pottawattamie2348
Sioux2130
Washington1858
Wright1450
Allamakee1204
Plymouth1191
Warren1160
Story991
Mahaska918
Poweshiek898
Bremer676
Henry671
Clinton601
Des Moines591
Boone570
Taylor490
Guthrie463
Cedar461
Clarke450
Benton391
Monroe385
Jones360
Iowa350
Shelby340
Clayton323
Osceola320
Buchanan320
Webster321
Marion310
Hamilton290
Madison271
Fayette260
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Monona240
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Davis200
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Lyon190
Jefferson190
Harrison190
Floyd181
Sac170
Dickinson160
Mills160
Hardin160
Hancock160
Humboldt150
Butler150
Delaware150
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Ida140
Keokuk140
Greene130
Clay130
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Lucas120
Cass110
Jackson110
Page110
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Mitchell50
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