Trump secretary of state pick Tillerson clears Senate hurdle

Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson has sworn in as the 69th secretary of state of the United States after the Republican-led Senate confirmed his nomination.

The nomination of Mr Tillerson, the former chief executive of ExxonMobil who has never served in government, advanced by a vote of 56 to 43, with four Democrats joining all 52 Republicans in support.

Friends of the Earth called on all "citizens of the world" to resit Tillerson and Trump as much as possible, but other environmentalists were a bit more tongue-and-cheek about the new Secretary of State.

Sen. Todd Young joined all his fellow Republicans in voting to confirm Tillerson. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mark Warner of Virginia and Angus King, an Independent from ME who caucuses with Democrats, according to NBC News' Frank Thorpe V. The latter criticized Tillerson for his close business ties with Russian Federation and alleged friendly relations with President Putin. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said, "We asked all the questions, but he never answered them".

He takes over a massive worldwide network of offices and embassies facing turmoil and uncertainty about divisions between traditional US foreign policy and policies from the new administration and president, who advocates that the United States withdraw in many ways from global affairs.




"It's unconscionable that the Senate confirmed an oil executive to be America's ambassador to the world", Michael Brune, the executive director of The Sierra Club, said in a press statement.

Democrats scuttled a planned vote on Tuesday in the wake of Mr Trump's decision to fire acting Attorney-General Sally Yates.

The Wednesday vote was more of a formality than a suspenseful tally: U.S. Senators had backed Tillerson on Monday on a procedural vote.

The move sets up the Senate to take a final vote on Tillerson as early as Wednesday, if senators don't yield back any of the 30-hours of debate time. Condoleeza Rice, by contrast, was approved by an 85-13 vote, Henry Kissinger by 78-7 and Dean Acheson by 83-6.

New US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson introduced himself to the department Thursday at his first day on the job, urging unity as he acknowledged the lingering strains of the divisive campaign and paid respects to the agency's career men and women. The traditional welcoming was polite, but the applause was not as loud, sustained or filled with gleeful hoots as it was when former secretaries John F. Kerry and Hillary Clinton first arrived.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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