(Washington Times) The Senate voted Wednesday afternoon to confirm Rex Tillerson as the nation’s 69th secretary of state, officially making the former ExxonMobil CEO America’s top diplomat and chief foreign policy advisor to President Trump.
In a 56-43 vote, Republicans picked up three Democratic votes to pierce the minority’s hoped-for united front against Mr. Trump’s unconventional nominee: Sens. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mark R. Warner of Virginia, all of whom face re-election next year. Democratic-leaning independent Sen. Angus S. King Jr. of Maine also voted to advance Mr. Tillerson’s nomination.
Mr. Tillerson, who had an extended lunch meeting with Mr. Trump Wednesday afternoon, was expected to be sworn in during a private ceremony later in the day. Officials said he is unlikely to appear in person at State Department headquarters in Foggy Bottom before Friday.
Officials said Mr. Tillerson, who had an extended lunch meeting with Mr. Trump Wednesday afternoon, would be sworn in during a private ceremony. He is not expected to appear at State Department headquarters in Foggy Bottom until Thursday or Friday.
Once the swearing in formalities are taken care of, the new secretary of state will be confronted quickly by a slate of delicate issues.
In addition to an already turbulent landscape of foreign policy challenges — from the North Korean nuclear threat to Syria’s civil war, Russian meddling in Ukraine and the international battle against the Islamic State — Mr. Tillerson arrival at Foggy Bottom coincides deep hand-wringing over Mr. Trump’s recent executive order relating to the so-called “extreme vetting” of Muslims trying to enter the U.S….