On Monday, the Senate’s foreign affairs committee prepared to vote NO on Mike Pompeo’s nomination for Secretary of State . However, things took a very different turn before the Foreign Relations Committee’s meeting, when Rand Paul suddenly announced that he would support Pompeo.
Rand Paul tweeted on Monday, “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,”
Pompeo won by 11-10 votes, after which the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), made note of the fact that according to Senate rules, a nominee will only win if he/she wins a majority of votes made by the people who are present in person. One of the members cast his vote by proxy, as he was absent. Then, Republican Senator Johnny Isakson’s ‘yes’ vote was changed. Thus leaving the results in a tie, with 10-10 votes.
Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) after this decision that the panel should meet around 11 pm to recast their votes, so Isakson could also cast his vote in person. Isakson was at a funeral, and unavailable.However, Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) decided to mark a “present” on the second vote.
This resulted in Isakson voting by proxy, and every Democrat voting ‘no’ aside from Coons – who voted yes. Corker described what Coons did, calling it an act of “statesmanship that I’m not accustomed to seeing in the Senate.”
Coons underplayed what he did for Isakson, who was busy delivering a eulogy at an out-of-town funeral. Coons voted ‘present’, as according to him, it was the “appropriate thing to do.”
“The only question was would it happen now or would we force my dear friend Johnny Isakson, who gave the eulogy at his best friend’s funeral today, to come here tonight at 11. …It did not change the outcome in any way,” Coons said to the reporters. Isakson thanked Coons for this gesture in a tweet:
“Thank you to @ChrisCoons for voting present at today’s committee vote on the secretary of state nomination to accommodate my absence after delivering the eulogy at the funeral of a close friend in Atlanta. You are a good friend, and your kindness and decency is much appreciated.”
Now Pompeo’s appointment now needs approval from the full Senate. Democratic Senators, Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) have already declared their support for Pompeo, in the Senate votes.
“Mike Pompeo will bring a unique perspective to the State Department and is the right person to lead the department to achieve our country’s foreign policy goals. I have had a strong working relationship with him in my role on the Senate Intelligence Committee,” stated Manchin, on Monday.