State Department cancels travel amid transition efforts

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The State Department on Tuesday announced that all planned travel will be canceled this week while it is solidifying plans to transition the department to President-elect Joe Biden’s team. 

We are expecting shortly a plan from the incoming administration identifying the career officials who will remain in positions of responsibility on an acting basis until the Senate confirmation process is complete for incoming officials,” the statement reads. “As a result, we are cancelling all planned travel this week, including the Secretary’s trip to Europe.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was supposed to travel to Belgium between Jan. 13-14 to “reaffirm” the United States’s alliance with Belgium and support for NATO. He was also scheduled to visit Luxembourg. Those plans have been canceled.

According to a report from Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter, the move to cancel the trip came after Luxembourg’s foreign minister and other top European Union officials said they would not meet with Pompeo and were “embarrassed” after the attacks on the Capitol last Wednesday.

The State Department statement says that the transition with Biden’s team has been going well and will be finished before Biden’s inauguration next Wednesday. 

Both the Department and the President-elect’s team have been fully engaged for several weeks toward this end, and we are pleased with the level of cooperation and professionalism that has been displayed,” according to the announcement. 

The move for the State Department comes after Pompeo met Biden’s pick for Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on Friday.

Our meeting was very productive, and we will continue to work together on behalf of America throughout the transition, Pompeo tweeted

The meeting occurred a day after President Trump released a video saying there would be a smooth transition for Biden’s team to get into office. That video was the first time Trump acknowledged Biden’s election win after weeks of refusing to concede and tweeting about election fraud.

The Hill has reached out to the State Department for comment.

Updated at 2:37 p.m.

Tags Antony Blinken Biden transition Donald Trump Inauguration Joe Biden Mike Pompeo Mike Pompeo State Deparment

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