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James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis sworn in as Trump’s defense secretary

The Senate voted 98-1 to confirm James Mattis to lead the Pentagon

Published: Updated:

The US Senate confirmed the first two members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet on Friday, voting overwhelmingly to approve two retired four-star Marine generals as his secretaries of defense and homeland security hours after Trump was sworn in as commander-in-chief.

The Senate voted 98-1 to confirm James Mattis to lead the Pentagon, and 88-11 to confirm John Kelly for homeland security, a sprawling department responsible for everything from domestic antiterrorism to border security and disaster prevention.

The Senate also voted 89-8 to clear the way for a vote on Monday on another member of Trump’s national security team, Republican US Representative Mike Pompeo, his nominee to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Trump’s fellow Republicans, who hold a 52-seat majority in the 100-member Senate, have been sparring with Democrats over confirmations of nominees for cabinet posts and other senior positions.

Republicans had hoped to confirm at least seven on Friday, but Democrats objected, complaining that Republicans were trying to force votes too quickly on nominees who were too slow to provide financial and ethics information.

Republicans accused Democrats of playing politics and risking public safety by delaying national security team nominations that they knew would eventually go through.

The CIA post is one of the most highly charged in Washington, amid controversy surrounding Russian attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election in Trump’s favor.

The last CIA director, John Brennan, who had criticized Trump, resigned Friday.