Trump top diplomat nominee narrowly clears committee

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly recommended CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be the nation's top diplomat Monday in a straight party line vote.

Pompeo's clearance of the committee was contingent upon Senator Rand Paul, the sole Republican that earlier indicated he would not back the nominee.

But a last-minute change of heart occurred after the libertarian said President Donald Trump personally assured him Pompeo agrees the Iraq war was a mistake and that regime change has failed to advance American interests.

“President Trump believes that Iraq was a mistake, that regime change has destabilized the region, and that we must end our involvement with Afghanistan,” Paul said on Twitter in the minutes preceding the vote.

"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.”

The final vote was 11-9 after Democratic Senator Chris Coons voted present in order to circumvent a procedural hurdle.

In addition to a strong interventionist penchant, Pompeo has a long track-record of anti-Muslim animus. Following the Boston marathon bombings in 2013, he wrongly condemned Muslim-American leaders for an alleged "silence" on the issue when at least half a dozen had condemned the terrorist attack and organized public displays of support for the victims.

The soon-to-be secretary of state never apologized. And he has close ties to conspiracy theorists who regularly peddle anti-Muslim propaganda.

Pompeo is poised to secure his spot helming the State Department after at least two Democrats signaled they would back the nominee in a vote expected to garner full Republican support.

"I believe he will represent our interests well across the world and provide wise counsel to President Trump on our foreign policy," Senator Joe Manchin said in a statement.

Senator Joe Donnelly said Monday afternoon he believes "Director Pompeo is capable of advancing U.S. interests and leading the State Department, and I will support his nomination.”

A floor vote on Pompeo's nomination is expected later this week.