US Senate confirms Antony Blinken as secretary of state

The US Senate easily confirms Antony Blinken as secretary of state, with key members of the Republican Party backing him.

Blinken, a longtime adviser to President Joe Biden who has vowed to repair US alliances, is approved by a vote of 78-22.

His easy confirmation is in contrast with former president Donald Trump’s two secretaries of state, Mike Pompeo and Rex Tillerson, who both scraped by with most Democrats opposed.

US Secretary of State nominee Tony Blinken testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 19, 2021. (Alex Edelman/Pool via AP)

Republican senators who supported Blinken include two close Trump allies on foreign policy — Marco Rubio, a fervent critic of the leftist governments in Cuba and Venezuela, and Lindsey Graham, known for his hawkish views on Syria and Iran.

Senator James Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged colleagues to back Blinken even while acknowledging some disagreements.

“We need a secretary of state. This is the person for the job,” Risch said on the Senate floor.

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