Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is a man deeply unfit to hold the role of America’s top diplomat. He’s a religious fanatic who wouldn’t have found himself within spitting distance of a Cabinet position if we had a president who actually cared about his appointments or running the government well. Whereas Trump’s predecessors gave careful consideration to who they chose for top positions, the former reality television host seems content to shove just anyone in. The only real criterion is that they remain loyal to him.
Now, Pompeo has proven once again why he shouldn’t be serving in the State Department at all, let alone leading it. Al-Monitor reports that the Secretary gave a speech in Cairo, Egypt that is being described as deeply partisan. The neophyte diplomat attacked former President Obama for the way in which his administration dealt with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Not coincidentally, Cairo was the location of Obama’s famous 2009 address to the Muslim world.
Pompeo, who has been noted for his apocalyptic talk in the past about the mythological Christian rapture, dipped into bellicose rhetoric while criticizing Obama’s peaceful negotiations.
“Our desire for peace at any cost led us to strike a deal with Iran, our common enemy. The good news is this: The age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering,” said Pompeo.
Not surprisingly, the crude and unprofessional speech was not received well. Former U.S. diplomat and Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein described it to Al-Monitor as “a regurgitation of what they have been saying for two years. There was nothing new, and it was offensive. That they think that anyone still wants to hear about Barack Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech — get over it.”
Feierstein remarked that speech was “tone dead” and that it will end up in the “dustbin of history” and observed that there was no applause to be heard during the speech and the response afterward was “tepid.”
“Look, when I was in government, whether in Republican or Democratic administrations, …they would never have allowed a speech to go forward like that without fact-checking the hell out of it. That they let obvious wrong statements creep in is a reflection of how this administration does business and a reflection of the fact that they don’t have professionals writing this stuff,” Feierstein added.
Another unnamed former diplomat referred to Pompeo as part of the “C-team” according to Al-Monitor. The sentiment was clearly widely shared.
“I always felt uncomfortable when Americans travel abroad and hang out dirty laundry,” former FBI and Treasury Department official Matthew Levitt told Al-Monitor.
Ellen Tauscher, who served as an Undersecretary of State for arms control under Obama and who has also served as a member of Congress took to Twitter to slam Pompeo in no uncertain terms, referring to him as a “small, hyper-partisan Trump suck up.”
Embarrassing & shameful speech by the small, hyper-partisan Trump suck up Pompeo that only qualifies for the Trump Cabinet and would never be considered for Cabinet of any other Prez, regardless of party. There’s not a ‘non-partisan statesman’ pore in his body. https://t.co/pY3B8SorZI
— Hon. Ellen Tauscher (@EllenOTauscher) January 10, 2019
The Telegraph’s Jose Ensor, a correspondent based in Beirut, Lebanon took to Twitter for a blunt analysis of Pompeo’s speech, correctly identifying as an effort to pander to President Trump rather than a sincere effort at diplomatic bridgework.
What's clear is that was not a speech for Egyptians, or those in the Middle East, but for a home audience. His boss would have been happy.
— Josie Ensor (@Josiensor) January 10, 2019
The widespread backlash is understandable and unfortunately unsurprising. Our government is riddled with ignoramuses and deeply incompetent fools that will continue to plague us until a Democrat takes the presidency and replaces them with real leaders.