Breaking: Rex Tillerson confirmed as secretary of state

Breaking: Rex Tillerson confirmed as secretary of state
Rex Tillerson (Image: YouTube screen grab via Texas BBA)

The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to confirm ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as the next secretary of state.

The vote in favor of President Trump’s pick for the key cabinet post fell mostly along partisan lines, with Republican lawmakers who have voiced concerns like Senators Marco Rubio, John McCain and Lindsey Graham joining fellow GOP members in affirming the nomination.

Tillerson needed a simple majority — 51 senators — for confirmation. The final vote was 56 in favor, 43 against.

Three Democrats voted in favor of Tillerson, including Senators Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, and Mark Warner. Angus King, an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also voted in for Tillerson.

It was Tillerson’s contacts with Russia and strongman Vladimir Putin that raised alarms among some Republicans. Among other things, Tillerson was given the Order of Friendship award by Putin.

But after a sit-down with the skeptical senators, McCain said he would back Tillerson.

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