Washington:Mike Pompeo was today sworn in as the secretary of state, shortly after the Senate confirmed the former CIA director’s nomination as America’s top diplomat at a crucial time when the US is involved in several high stakes negotiations around the world. Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito administered the oath to Pompeo in the West Conference Room of the Supreme Court, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Immediately after the swearing in ceremony, the US State Department announced that Pompeo, America’s 70th secretary of state, will be travelling to Brussels, Riyadh, Jerusalem, and Amman from 26 April to 30 April.
Earlier in the day, Pompeo, 54, was confirmed by the Senate by 57-42 votes. He replaced Rex Tillerson, who was fired by President Donald Trump last month.
Pompeo’s nomination met with stiff resistance from Democrats, including the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who voiced “lingering concerns" about Pompeo in remarks ahead of the vote and hit back against Republicans who have characterised Democratic opposition as a partisan political tactic.
Trump, while congratulating Pompeo, said, “Having a patriot of Mike’s immense talent, energy, and intellect leading the Department of State will be an incredible asset for our country at this critical time in history." “He will always put the interests of America first. He has my trust. He has my support. Today, he has my congratulations on becoming America’s 70th Secretary of State," he said.
“The Secretary looks forward to meeting key Allies and partners on his first official trip as Secretary of State," Nauert said.
Pompeo will be on a two-day travel to Brussels from 26 April to 27 April, where he will meet with NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg and participate in the NATO Foreign Ministerial, during which Allies will discuss preparations for July’s NATO Summit of Heads of State and Government meeting, she said.
“The Secretary will then travel to the Middle East, where he will meet with Saudi, Israeli, and Jordanian leaders to discuss critical regional and bilateral issues," Nauert said.
US Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, “Congratulations to Mike Pompeo on being confirmed the 70th Secretary of State! Mike brings years of public service and expertise to the job. I know that Mike Pompeo will serve our nation with distinction and will do an outstanding job for the American people."