Rex Tillerson is confirmed along party lines, but prior presidents had easier time with secretary of state pick

The vote for Tillerson stands in stark contrast to previous roll calls in which nominees were backed overwhelmingly

By Associated Press
Published February 1, 2017 10:18PM (EST)

Previous presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, had a much easier time securing Senate confirmation for their nominees for secretary of state than President Donald Trump.

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, on a largely party-line vote of 56-43. Three Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mark Warner of Virginia — and independent Angus King of Maine joined Republicans in backing the choice.

Most Senate Democrats opposed Tillerson's nomination, angering Republicans who considered the former Exxon Mobil CEO to be highly qualified for the post.

Sen. Ben Cardin, the Foreign Relations Committee's top Democrat, says he feared Tillerson would be a "yes man" and would not be able to prevent Trump from pursuing a misguided foreign policy that leads the country "on a march of folly."

Tillerson's ties to Russia and his stand on sanctioning Moscow have been a point of contention.

The vote stands in stark contrast to previous roll calls in which nominees were backed overwhelmingly.

The Senate confirmed President Barack Obama's choice of John Kerry 94-3 and Hillary Clinton 94-2. President George W. Bush's nominee Condoleezza Rice easily won confirmation 85-13. Colin Powell was confirmed for the job by voice vote.

Associated Press

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