Mike Pompeo's nomination for secretary of state received a boost Thursday with support from Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota as Republicans warned lawmakers not to reject President Trump's choice for top diplomat ahead of North Korea talks. Just a handful of senators could determine Pompeo's confirmation. Republicans have a narrow 51-49 majority, but Pompeo faces opposition from Democrats and at least one Republican, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the AP reports. Paul met with Pompeo on Thursday, at Trump's request, but had no change in his position, the senator's spokesman said. "We need the Senate to approve Mike ASAP," Trump tweeted Thursday. "He will be a great Secretary of State!" Heitkamp is the first Democrat to offer her support, the Hill reports.
As Pompeo, the current CIA director, walked the Senate halls this week to shore up support, political pressure was mounting on senators on both sides of the aisle. White House allies are pushing the administration's view that Pompeo's recent high-stakes meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un solidifies the diplomatic credentials of the West Point and Harvard Law graduate. They warned Democrats not to disrupt Trump's efforts at a denuclearization deal. At the same time, progressives are lighting up phone lines ahead of a crucial vote Monday at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Pompeo faces almost unified opposition from Democrats. He may not be able to secure a favorable recommendation from the panel.