Pompeo not concerned about fallout from trade policies, family separations

Pompeo not concerned about fallout from trade policies, family separations
© Greg Nash

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoKobach has lead in Kansas Senate race unless Pompeo enters: report The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial MORE said that he is not concerned about potential backlash from the Trump administration's trade barriers or the optics of separating migrant children from their parents at the southern border.

The top diplomat told CNN in an interview that the nation's traditional embrace of human rights, foreign aid and free trade would ultimately overshadow any short-term blows to its reputation stemming from the Trump administration's trade policies or the separations of migrant families.

"I am not at all concerned that anyone in the world can look at the United States and understand it to be anything but a beacon of hope, democracy and freedom," he said. "We have a long history of that and it has continued under the Trump administration."

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The administration has been on the receiving end of public outrage in recent weeks after photos and recordings of migrant children separated from their parents as a result of Trump's "zero tolerance" policy emerged. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed MORE caved to public pressure last week, signing an executive order that allows children to be detained with their parents, though exactly how the administration plans to execute that policy remains unclear.

Customs and Border Protection announced on Monday that it would cease referring migrants for prosecution until it received assurances that children would not be separated from their families. 

Pompeo during the CNN interview appeared to wave off concerns about the backlash. He told the network that the State Department is working to address the root cause of illegal immigration from Central America by creating "conditions on the ground so that they won't make this long, arduous and often perilous trek up into Mexico to attempt to get into the United States."

"I have the amazing blessing of being the foreign minister for the most generous nation in the history of civilization," he said.

The Trump administration has also faced backlash from some of its closest allies in recent weeks after it announced stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, the European Union and Mexico. 

Harley-Davidson, the Wisconsin-based motorcycle giant, announced on Monday that it would shift some of its production abroad in order to avoid steep retaliatory tariffs from the European Union.