Secretary of State Mike Pompeo references Eisenhower in pitch for Trump’s re-election

By: - August 25, 2020 10:50 pm

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised President Donald Trump’s foreign policy accomplishments in a pre-recorded message to the virtual Republican National Convention. (Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged viewers of the virtual Republican National Convention to reward President Donald Trump’s foreign policy accomplishments by electing him to a second term.

Pompeo, a conservative former Kansas congressman, said during the Tuesday night broadcast that Trump believed in wisdom of the late President Dwight Eisenhower, who argued that “securing the peace is the first requisite.”

“As a soldier, I saw firsthand people desperate to flee to freedom,” said Pompeo, a West Point graduate. “The way each of us can best ensure our freedoms is by electing leaders who don’t just talk, but deliver.”

The secretary of state said Trump worked to achieve an “America first” vision by pushing back against Islamic jihadists in the Middle East, lowering the temperate in North Korea and challenging China for espionage, trade and COVID-19, or what he referred to as the “China virus.”

Pompeo claimed “NATO is stronger” as a result of Trump’s leadership, despite the president’s criticism of the alliance. The secretary said grandchildren would read in history books about the mid-August peace agreement between Israel and United Arab Emirates.

Pompeo praised Trump’s decision to order a drone strike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who was credited with the “murder and maiming of hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of Christians across the Middle East.” He celebrated the president’s decision to remove the United States from a “disastrous nuclear deal with Iran.” Pompeo credited the president with reducing the ISIS caliphate in Iraq to a shell of its former self.

He said Trump held China accountable for “covering up the China virus and allowing it to spread death and economic destruction in America and around the world.”

“Delivering on this duty to keep us safe and our freedoms intact, this president has led bold initiatives in nearly every corner of the world,” Pompeo said.

His pre-recorded partisan address from Jerusalem generated controversy because U.S. secretaries of state don’t have a tradition of participating in political conventions. A U.S. House inquiry is expected to examine whether Pompeo’s speech was a violation of the Hatch Act, which is a federal law prohibiting federal employees from being involved in political campaign activities while on the job.

The State Department last month issued a memorandum reminding Senate-confirmed presidential appointees, such as Pompeo, could not attend a political party convention or a convention-related event. However, the State Department said Pompeo’s appearance was in a personal capacity and that no tax dollars were spent to produce the video.

Pompeo became secretary of state in April 2018 following ouster Rex tillerson, who clashed with Trump. He previously served as the president’s director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He served three terms in the U.S. House from 2011 to 2017, representing the 4th District anchored by Wichita.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.