President Donald Trump finally got his pick for secretary of the Army approved Wednesday after the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of Mark Esper’s nomination for the position.
The Senate voted 89-6 Wednesday afternoon to approve Esper, who formerly worked as vice president and lobbyist for the defense contractor Raytheon.
GOP Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, said he was proud to back Esper, whose nomination he held up until he received more information from the Trump administration on Afghanistan.
“Our soldiers continue to prove their commitment, courage, skill, and determination,” McCain said. “In return, we owe them the same kind of leadership. I believe Dr. Esper will provide that leadership. I am proud to support Dr. Esper’s nomination and ask my colleagues to do the same.”
Esper graduated from West Point in 1986, where he was a Dean’s List student. He served in the Army with the 101st Airborne Division as an infantry officer during the Gulf War.
Trump announced in July that he had chosen Esper after two previous nominees for the position dropped out of the running.
Vincent Viola, Trump’s first pick, had to bow out in February, owing to complicated financial entanglements.
Mark Green, Trump’s second pick, found himself caught up in accusations that he had made denigrating remarks about Muslims and gays. At the time, Secretary of Defense James Mattis was reportedly blindsided by the revelation of Green’s socially conservative beliefs about the LGBT community, as he apparently left the vetting process to the White House.
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