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Pompeo Delivers Convention Speech While on Mideast Tour

Pompeo Delivers Convention Speech While on Mideast Tour

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stirred up some controversy Tuesday evening as he delivered a taped message from his hotel rooftop in Jerusalem to audiences watching the third night of the Republican National Convention. In the midst of a weeklong tour of the region and against the backdrop of the Old City walls, Pompeo lauded President Donald Trump’s foreign policy record, rattling off the restructured trade deals, successful killings of Middle Eastern terrorist chiefs, and negotiations with North Korea as examples of the President’s achievements. Pompeo didn’t forget to give a shout-out to his hosts, mentioning “this very city of God, the rightful capital of the Jewish homeland,” to which President Trump moved the American Embassy in 2018. The speech was widely condemned by Democrats as violating US laws and tradition, with presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign saying the remarks constitute an “abuse of taxpayer dollars” and “undermine the critical work being done by the State Department. Making this inherently partisan address from Jerusalem is also the latest instance of this administration seeking to use Israel as a political wedge issue, when the historic bipartisan support in Washington for Israel and her security should never be subordinated … for personal gain.” Pompeo’s critics also pointed to the secretary’s own instructions to State Department officials, in which he explicitly banned staff from participating in “partisan political behavior while posted … abroad, even on personal time.”

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