The Senate voted to confirm former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as President Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Wednesday afternoon, 56 to 43.
The confirmation came after contentious hearings, with Senators questioning him about Big Oil, ties to Russia, and Iran. Tillerson also compared the Iraq War to the disastrous Libya invasion, saying on Jan. 11 that as Secretary of State, he will fight to keep the U.S. out of war.
According to The Hill, three Democratic Senators cast votes for Tillerson: West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner. Maine Independent Sen. Angus King also voted for Tillerson. New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer tried to stall the nomination after Trump issued executive orders freezing refugee resettlement (refugee: a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.) but were blocked by Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton.
“Rex Tillerson’s career is the embodiment of the American dream. Through hard work, dedication and smart deal making, Rex rose through the ranks to become CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest and most respected companies. His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for Secretary of State,” Trump said of Tillerson after selecting him for the position.
The New York Times wrote Trump is the “most unapologetically nationalistic president of the modern era” and Tillerson must manage to balance “America First” with maintaining diplomatic ties.