Biden campaign hits Pompeo over convention speech from Jerusalem
The Biden campaign on Tuesday criticized Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for deciding to address the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem during official diplomatic travel.
“Secretary Pompeo’s decision to address the Republican Convention from Jerusalem isn’t just an abuse of taxpayer dollars, it undermines the critical work being done by the State Department,” said Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager and communications director for Biden’s campaign.
“Every day America’s diplomats abroad proudly represent our country — not a political party — but Mike Pompeo’s repeated and blatant use of his office for overtly political purposes only serves to undercut their work, and it further weakens the critical alliances and global relationships that have already been so badly damaged by this administration’s recklessness,” she added.
Pompeo is on a weeklong trip to the Middle East following the Trump administration’s recent opening of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The secretary took time away from his official duty to record convention remarks from Jerusalem that are expected to be delivered during Tuesday night’s programming.
The State Department said he was delivering remarks in his personal capacity and that no department resources would be used in the process.
Critics argue that Pompeo is breaking long-held norms of State Department officials avoiding partisan and political gatherings and that he likely violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal officials from taking part in political activity while on official duty.
Another administration official drawing scrutiny for participating in the GOP convention is Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser who will introduce her father, President Trump, before his acceptance speech on Thursday.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Ivanka Trump’s appearance will be in her personal capacity as the president’s daughter and that the White House worked with the Office of Special Counsel to ensure that her appearance was in full compliance with the Hatch Act.
“Like all government employees, she is free to engage in political activity in her personal capacity,” McEnany said in a statement.
Pompeo’s critics also pointed out that the secretary was violating his own stipulations for State Department officials, laid out as recently as July, that explicitly prohibited staff from participating in “partisan political behavior while posted … abroad, even on personal time.”
A copy of the July cable, signed by Pompeo, was obtained by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and released Monday night.
Updated at 11:06 a.m.