Pompeo: State Department review found GOP convention speech lawful

Pompeo: State Department review found GOP convention speech lawful
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoHaley has 'positive' meeting with Trump No time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Psaki: Sexism contributes to some criticism of Harris MORE on Wednesday defended his speech at last week’s Republican National Convention, saying an internal review determined his appearance was lawful.

Pompeo addressed the GOP faithful last week from Jerusalem while he was on an official State Department visit, though he insists he spoke in a personal capacity.

“I did this in my personal capacity. All I can say in my role as secretary of State is the State Department reviewed this, it was lawful, and I personally felt it was important that the world hear the message of what this administration has accomplished,” Pompeo said in a news conference at the State Department on Wednesday. 

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In his speech last week, Pompeo offered a defense of the Trump administration’s foreign policy.

“I’m speaking to you from beautiful Jerusalem, looking out over the Old City. I have a big job, as Susan’s husband and Nick’s dad,” said the secretary, who is considered a possible 2024 presidential candidate. “Susan and Nick are more safe and their freedoms more secure because President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package Trump calls Milley a 'f---ing idiot' over Afghanistan withdrawal First rally for far-right French candidate Zemmour prompts protests, violence MORE has put his America First Vision into action.” 

Still, the speech broke with tradition that secretaries of State do not appear at political events while on official duties, raising criticism that Pompeo was politicizing his role. 

The House Foreign Affairs panel's subcommittee on oversight and investigations announced last week it is launching an investigation into Pompeo’s speech over worries the remarks amounted to a breach of State Department regulations and a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal officials from participating in political activity while on official duty.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable that a sitting U.S. Secretary of State, America’s top diplomat, would use official taxpayer-funded business to participate in a political party convention, particularly after the State Department published guidance that explicitly prohibits such activity,” Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroIsrael says blacklisted NSO Group 'has nothing to do' with government policies Hillicon Valley — The race to report cyber breaches Lawmakers call on Biden administration to take further steps against spyware groups MORE (D-Texas), the subcommittee’s chair, wrote in a letter to Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun.

“This action is part of a pattern of politicization of U.S foreign policy, for which President Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives, that undermines America’s standing in the world. The American people deserve a full investigation,” he added.

The State Department has insisted that any costs related to Pompeo’s convention speech were covered by the Republican National Committee and not the federal government.