What To Expect From Rex Tillerson's State Department

The confirmation comes despite concerns about Tillerson's connections with Russian Federation.

"When I wake up in the morning the very first thing I ask is, 'are all our people safe", he said.

Schumer called on Tillerson to condemn Trump's order and tried to keep the Senate from voting on nominee before the order is repealed.

Tillerson described department employees' duties as "to faithfully represent our nation in the arena of foreign affairs", and told them they should stay focused on that mission "regardless of the circumstances shaping our country or our department".

Tillerson also faces a divided State Department.

The Indiana Democrat is under intense pressure over his votes for Trump's nominees.

"Here is the minority shedding crocodile tears over Trump's immigration policy", said Cotton, adding he believes his Democratic colleagues could to improve safety in the U.S. by voting to confirm Tillerson and Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions.

President Trump tweeted past year: "The thing I like best about Rex Tillerson is that he has vast experience at dealing successfully with all types of foreign governments".

Senators voted 56-43 to put Tillerson's bid to be the nation's chief diplomat on track for confirmation later this week.

"Honesty will undergird our foreign policy", he said.

The lifelong Exxon employee beat a long list of seasoned candidates in the running for the post, including former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Senator Bob Corker, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and former Central Intelligence Agency chief David Petraeus. The Russian leader awarded Tillerson the country's Order of Friendship in 2012.

The approvals came as tension built among congressional Republicans and Democrats over Mr Trump's executive order on immigrants and refugees.

Although many Democrats - including Schumer - will oppose Tillerson, they'll need at least several Republicans to join them to derail the nomination.

Gracious and humorous, Tillerson expressed his "high regard" for the State Department employees and those who have died during service and pledged safety will be a "core value". The Senate confirmed President Barack Obama's selections John Kerry 94-3 and Hillary Clinton 94-2.

There was also concern in the Senate that Tillerson has failed to promise to recuse himself from matters related to Exxon Mobil for the whole time he is Secretary of State and not just for the one year period required by law.

Democratic senators Mark Warner of Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia also voted in favor of Tillerson on Wednesday, along with Independent Maine senator Angus King.

  • Annette Adams