Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson was confirmed as secretary of state by the Senate on Wednesday, 56 to 43. "Rex Tillerson will have the most demanding and complex agenda to face a secretary of state in a very long time," career foreign service officer R. Nicholas Burns told The New York Times.
Tillerson is the most divisive secretary of state nominee in recent history, with the next most contentious nominees being Condoleezza Rice, confirmed 85 to 13 in 2005, and Henry Kissinger, confirmed 78 to 7 in 1973. "Just one week into his administration, President Trump is turning our foreign policy into shambles," Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. "His nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, a man who will not lift a finger to fight climate change and will not rule out a Muslim registry, would make it even worse."
Also on Wednesday, Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee advanced President Trump's nominee for treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and his nominee for health secretary, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), with zero Democrats present. To do so required committee chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to suspend the committee rules, which normally require a quorum of at least one Democrat in the room to permit a vote.