Trump Cabinet Confirmations: Rex Tillerson confirmed as secretary of state

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson will be the next secretary of state, after the Senate voted Wednesday to confirm his nomination.

Tillerson was confirmed by a vote of 56-43 votes, with four Democrats joining Republicans in supporting his nomination. 

The Democrats who voted in favor of Tillerson were Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mark Warner of Virginia and Angus King, an Independent from Maine who caucuses with Democrats, according to NBC News' Frank Thorpe V.

Initially, Tillerson's nomination looked to be in danger after GOP senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio expressed concerns over Tillerson's ties to Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Source: YouTube

If all three had voted "no" on Tillerson, his nomination likely would have been scuttled.

However in the run up to Tillerson's confirmation vote, McCain, Graham and Rubio all announced they would support Tillerson, despite their concerns, paving the way for his confirmation.

Tillerson will now assume the role as the country's top diplomat amid a turbulent time in U.S. foreign affairs.

He'll have to work with a skeptical Trump on dealing with Russia's interference in the U.S. election. Tillerson will also have to deal with the diplomatic fallout from seven majority-Muslim countries whose residents are temporarily banned from entering the United States.

And he'll have to calm the fears of world leaders, some of whom don't trust Trump to honor past commitments the U.S. has made, including supporting the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Iran nuclear deal, the New York Times reported.

"If he's telling lies on relatively unimportant things, like the size of the crowd at his inauguration or whether or not it rained on his parade, that's not of great importance in the overall scheme of things," Peter Westmacott, a former British ambassador to the U.S., told the New York Times.

"But as I used to say to my staff," Westmacott added, "If I can't rely on you to get the small things right, how can I count on you to do so on things that really matter?"

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

MORE FROM

Senate Health Care Bill: How senators plan to vote on the GOP health care plan

The Senate health care bill is in peril, as at least five Republicans have said they can't vote for it in its current form.

Supreme Court allows parts of Trump's travel ban to go into effect, will hear arguments in fall

"We leave the injunctions entered by the lower courts in place with respect to respondents [who have a] bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

Moderate Republicans say they won't cut health insurance. But all the GOP proposals do just that.

Senators like Susan Collins (R-Maine) have said they won't support cuts to existing health insurance coverage. That's all the GOP has put forward.

Kellyanne Conway defends Medicaid cuts, says "able-bodied" adults need only find jobs

Finding a job with health care benefits may not be as easy as Conway suggests.

Bernie Sanders makes bipartisan appeal to delay vote on Senate health care bill

A call to postpone the vote on the Senate's health care bill till after the July 4 holiday recess has bipartisan support.

Senate Health Care Bill: How senators plan to vote on the GOP health care plan

The Senate health care bill is in peril, as at least five Republicans have said they can't vote for it in its current form.

Supreme Court allows parts of Trump's travel ban to go into effect, will hear arguments in fall

"We leave the injunctions entered by the lower courts in place with respect to respondents [who have a] bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

Moderate Republicans say they won't cut health insurance. But all the GOP proposals do just that.

Senators like Susan Collins (R-Maine) have said they won't support cuts to existing health insurance coverage. That's all the GOP has put forward.

Kellyanne Conway defends Medicaid cuts, says "able-bodied" adults need only find jobs

Finding a job with health care benefits may not be as easy as Conway suggests.

Bernie Sanders makes bipartisan appeal to delay vote on Senate health care bill

A call to postpone the vote on the Senate's health care bill till after the July 4 holiday recess has bipartisan support.