Earlier this afternoon, the Senate voted to confirm Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Plenty has been written here about what a loathsome choice Tillerson is for the position, and I’m sure we’ll see that play out in the coming weeks and months. But for now, the problem is in the vote to confirm him, which passed the Senate 56-43.
You may see some problems with that tally.
Voting in favor of Tillerson’s confirmation:
- Mark Warner, D-VA
- Heidi Heitkamp, D-ND
- Joe Manchin III, D-WV
- Angus King, I-ME
Present, but not voting:
- Chris Coons, D-DE
Obviously, Heitkamp, Manchin, and to some extent Warner are red-state Democrats in seats vulnerable to an attack from the right. Apparently they’re not too concerned about pressure from the left.
Angus King is an Independent, but caucuses with the Democrats. Maine politics is strange, but it’s not that strange. King opposed ANWR drilling and the Keystone XL, but helped hand the keys to the State Department over to a scion of Exxon. Maine leans blue, and he’s up for reelection in 2018. We can do better.
Chris Coons apparently felt that it was just too hard to be on record with the rest of his party. Delaware is a safely blue state. There’s plenty of time to arrange a nice primary challenger.
But at the end of the day, there was no excuse.