Esper's 90-8 vote comes as a surprise to most who suspected the Senate Democrats would work to obstruct Trump. It appears Esper was popular and had the strong backing for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The Senate confirmed former Army Lt. Col. Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense Tuesday, making him the first permanent Pentagon boss since James Mattis resigned last December.
Esper, who served 10 years on active duty and 11 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve, was Acting Secretary before his nomination, and Patrick Shanahan had been Acting Secretary prior to that.
The vote was not close, with the Senate confirming Esper by a vote of 90-8. The no votes included 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.
Warren and Esper had a tense exchange during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, when she challenged his refusal to completely recuse himself from any and all matters related to Raytheon, the defense contractor for which he served as a lobbyist before joining the government. Esper said that ethics personnel told him not to fully recuse himself.