Former CIA director Mike Pompeo was confirmed as Secretary of State yesterday by a 57-42 Senate vote, one of the narrowest approvals in the history of the gig. Pompeo’s nomination looked imperiled earlier in the week because of concerns about his support of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he just squeaked by. After a dramatic battle, what can we expect from Pompeo, and how do his beliefs reflect how he’ll represent the U.S. on the world stage?
Fast facts about Mike Pompeo
1. He’s from Kansas
Pompeo, 54, was elected to four terms as a U.S. Representative from Kansas’s 4th Congressional District between 2010 and 2016. He had lived in Wichita, Kansas, since 1998, where he ran aerospace and oilfield equipment companies that were partly funded by the Koch brothers. He was born in Orange, California, and lived in the state until he went to West Point and served in the military until 1991. Pompeo graduated from Harvard Law School in 1994 and was an associate in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Williams & Connolly.
2. Mike Pompeo is very close to Trump
“I’ve worked with Mike Pompeo now for quite some time,” the president told reporters earlier this month. “We’re always on the same wavelength. The relationship has been very good. That’s what I need as secretary of state.” Like Trump, Pompeo is a critic of the Iran deal and believes it can only be preserved with a “substantial fix.” He had sometimes defended Trump on Russia, sometimes been hawkish toward them.
3. He is very conservative on the environment, abortion and health care
Mike Pompeo does not believe in global warming, mirroring his boss’s view. “There are scientists who think lots of different things about climate change. There’s some who think we’re warming, there’s some who think we’re cooling, there’s some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment,” he said. Pompeo called the Obama administration’s climate-change policy “damaging” and “radical.” He doesn’t think greenhouse gases should be regulated.
Pompeo has said that “life begins at conception, with no exceptions” and backed a bill to ban federal health care funding that would include abortion services. Pompeo also opposed the Affordable Care Act.
4. Mike Pompeo holds anti-LGBT views
Mike Pompeo has been a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage and has sponsored bills that would have allowed states to ban it. When asked by Sen. Cory Booker during his confirmation hearing if he still opposed same-sex marriage, Pompeo said, “I continue to hold that view.” GLAAD pointed out that Pompeo has been endorsed by the Family Research Council, a named anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which supports efforts in Uganda to criminalize homosexuality with the death penalty.
5. He’s already on his first trip
The day of his confirmation, Pompeo got on a plane to Brussels to join the NATO summit. A senior official told Axios on Wednesday that Pompeo was prepared “to reaffirm our commitment to NATO and coordinate the alliance’s response to Russian aggression.”