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Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2019 @ 12:37 PM
— After nearly seven months without a permanent civilian leader at the Pentagon, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to confirm Army Secretary Mark Esper as the next Secretary of Defense.
"President Trump has made an outstanding choice for Secretary of Defense," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as the GOP-led Senate put Esper's nomination on a very fast track, after waiting months for the President to nominate someone to replace James Mattis, who resigned back in December.
"Dr. Esper has the experience, the knowledge, and the character for the job," said Sen. John Thune (R-SD).
"We have someone that is enthusiastically supported by Republicans and Democrats," said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
✅ West Point graduate— Senator Roy Blunt (@RoyBlunt) July 23, 2019
✅ Army Ranger
✅ Combat veteran
✅ Secretary of the U.S. Army @EsperDOD is well-prepared to lead the @DeptofDefense. Today, the Senate voted to confirm Esper as our nation’s Secretary of Defense. pic.twitter.com/3kUzSVojDK
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman says if SecDef Esper is confirmed by Senate today, he'll be sworn in tonight. US will have it's first SecDef in seven months.— paul mcleary (@paulmcleary) July 23, 2019
The final vote was 90 to 8.
There were some hints of the 2020 race for President in the final Senate vote, as five of “No” votes came from Democrats running for President: Booker (NJ), Klobuchar (MN), Warren (MA), Gillibrand (NY) and Harris (CA).
Also voting 'No' on Esper were three other Democrats - they included both Senators from Oregon, Merkley and Wyden, plus Markey (MA).
Two Senators did not vote - Isakson (R-GA), who is recovering from fractured ribs, and Sanders (I-VT).