April 26, 2018

Corker Votes to Confirm Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State

Says Pompeo is “One of the Most Outstanding Nominees We Could Have” for Secretary of State

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today joined a bipartisan majority of senators in voting to confirm Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. The Senate approved the nomination by a vote of 57 to 42. On Monday, the committee reported the nomination to the full Senate with a favorable recommendation. Corker’s remarks on the Senate floor in advance of the vote follow.

“Mr. President, I want to thank the ranking member [Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)] for allowing the process to go forth and for us to be able to vote on this nominee today.

“I think all of us are aware that there is a NATO summit, where foreign ministers are going to be present. Us passing him out today will allow Director Pompeo, Secretary of State Pompeo, to be a participant in a meeting that needs to take place.

“And so I want to thank [Senator Menendez] for his cooperation and certainly his point of view. Let me offer a different point of view, though, as it relates to this nominee.

“I think he's one of the most outstanding nominees we could have for this position. I did not know him well when the process began. I knew he had done a very good job as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. But I have to tell you, through the process of him going through the confirmation hearings and the conversations we’ve had, the meetings we’ve had, I think he's going to be exemplary.

“Let me just go through his resume briefly. I know people are here ready to vote.

“He graduated first in his class at West Point – first in his class at West Point. He served our nation in uniform patrolling the Iron Curtain, and it was there he learned about diplomacy and the effect that diplomacy can have on the world.

“What I have found from those individuals that have worn the uniform – those people that we hold on a pedestal like our presiding officer – what I have found is that they respect diplomacy more than almost anyone else because they know it's the thing that keeps our men and women from being in harm's way. And I know this nominee believes strongly in the role of diplomacy, and he’s seen it in action firsthand on the ground.

“He graduated, after serving in the military, from Harvard Law School where he was editor of the law review. He then founded his own company acting as CEO and became president of another company after that. So, he served in the private sector. Four times he was elected in Kansas to the fourth district.

“Now, let me just say this, sometimes people say things when they're in public office and when they're running in campaigns, and I know some has been said about that. I will say we confirmed Secretary Kerry and Secretary Clinton by 94 votes, and I can assure you that during their campaigns they may have said some things that Republicans didn't particularly care for, but we went ahead and confirmed them with 94 votes on the floor.

“For the last 15 months, he served our nation as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and I think everyone knows how he’s run that department or that agency. I think everyone knows the culture that he has built there. The State Department right now has terrible culture. The morale is terrible. A lot of positions, as my friend the ranking member mentioned, have not been filled. But they also feel like that they haven’t had a leader in some time that has really stood behind them and raised them up to leverage our diplomatic efforts around the world. I believe this particular nominee will be excellently suited for that. He’s demonstrated that at the C.I.A. I strongly support his nomination.

“And with that, I hope we will vote. I look forward to him serving our nation… I don’t know of a person in the United States of America that could have more current knowledge about what is happening around the world in his current role. As we know, he already met with the North Koreans. We have known for some time that the C.I.A. has been our contact, our backchannel, with the North Koreans. He’s the perfect person to come in at this time and lead those efforts diplomatically.

“With that, I yield the floor.”