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On Wednesday, February 1, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Rex Tillerson as the 69th Secretary of State. Senate Republicans and four Democrats voted 56-43. Later in the afternoon, Secretary Tillerson was sworn in by Vice President Pence. The oath of office ceremony was held at the White House and attended by the President.
The State Department announced that Secretary Tillerson will address State Department employees upon arrival at the State Department on February 2 at 9:30 a.m. in the C Street Lobby.
It looks like the State Department also rolled out the Update 1: A new secretary of state’s Twitter account @RexTillerson_ was rolled out the same day as Secretary Tillerson’s confirmation. The account says “Joined February 2017” and “Responsive 24/7.” The account is not verified and has not been confirmed at this time. The account follows 508 Twitter accounts as of this writing including several embassies, it even responded to tweets from some posts. The odd thing about the account … it is following the state governors, and state secretaries of state instead of world leaders, and foreign ministers as one would expect. We followed the account last night and this morning, we received a DM that says “Thank you for your message. The United States Secretary of State’s office will be in touch.” What is even weirder is we haven’t sent it a message. This is probably an automated message for every follower. We’ve asked who is running this account. Will update if we get a response.
Posted: 2:07 am ET
A view from Taiwan, a Trump-Tsai Ing-wen tag team, watch:
Now for the auditions, with some exciting clips below:
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Updated: 12:13 pm PT
Updated: 2:57 pm PT
Updated: 2:57 pm | Media reports now say that the front-runners for the SecState job are former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former UN Ambassador John Bolton. Also included in the rumor mill is Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations who served under the Bush Administration. Given that Giuliani was one of the president-elect’s most aggressive surrogate during the campaign, it is conceivable that he will get this job if he wants it. But since no announcement has been made yet … we’ll continue hearing updates on who is favored, or “being vetted” or who is “close” to being named 69th Secretary of State.
We previously blogged about the names floated around as the next Secretary of State. In October, career diplomat Bill Burns was the prediction market’s favorite (see Who will be Secretary of State on Jan. 31, 2017?). As of this writing, the former UN Ambassador John Bolton is running at $0.53 cents in the prediction market, way ahead of SFRC’s Senator Bob Corker and former House Speaker New Gingrich.
There may be a good reason for it. It looks like Newt Gingrich has taken himself out of the running:
The New York Times has a short-list of other possibles including Zalmay Khalilzad, a former ambassador to Afghanistan, and retired General Stanley McChrystal.
We don’t know who will eventually end up in Foggy Bottom, but here is former Ambassador John Bolton in an interview with Hugh Hewitt back in August 2016, who endorsed the former for the cabinet position with then candidate Trump.
On November 12, the National Review writes that “none is better suited to the job than former U.N. ambassador John Bolton.”
Bolton has been around the block—starting his career as a protégé of James A. Baker III—but has never become an establishmentarian or lost his edge. He would understand that he is the president’s emissary to the State Department, not the other way around, and avoid getting captured by Foggy Bottom’s bureaucrats the way, say, a Colin Powell did, or others with less experience likely would.
The National Review editorial went all in and writes that “John Bolton is an ideal pick, and his appointment would be a sign that the Trump administration intends to get off to a strong start.”
Random person online says,”He will make heads explode!” In Washington DC and Turtle Bay. So apparently, that is a potential attraction at the Internets near you.
On January 29, 2013, the U.S. Senate confirmed John Forbes Kerry, of Massachusetts, to be Secretary of State.
The vote was a landslide for the five-term veteran of the Senate with 94 of his former colleagues voting YEAs.
There were three senators who voted NAYs:
And two senators did not vote:
The remaining 1 vote counted as “present” was Senator Kerry’s.
The following day, Senator Kerry delivered his Senate farewell floor address.
In related news, word from The Building is that Secretary Clinton’s last day at work will be today, February 1. Apparently, Secretary-Designate Kerry will also be sworn this afternoon in a private, small swearing-in ceremony with Justice Kagan. We don’t know if there will be a public swearing in ceremony. We heard that his first day “in the mother ship” or Main State will be Monday, February 4.