Pompeo: “I’m flattered when people say Mike will be a good United States senator representing Kansas.”

 

Secretary Pompeo returned to Kansas last week to deliver the 190th Landon Lecture in the McCain Auditorium at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. He also did at least seven local interviews; all asked him about a potential senate run.  See his response below, particularly the part about what flattered him, and spending “every waking moment” … “to try and achieve good diplomatic outcomes for the  people of Kansas.”
He said that he’s been “unambiguous” about the senate run but that he “continue to get asked.”
Especially as he kept going back to Kansas.

Via: SECRETARY POMPEO:  Steve, that’s why I always love coming on your show.  Look, I’m focused on my mission.  I’m serving America and working on President Trump’s team to deliver America’s foreign policy.  That’s what I’m focused on.  I do see the noise.  I’m flattered when people say Mike will be a good United States senator representing Kansas.  Susan and I love this place.  We miss our Shockers.  We miss our church there in Wichita and all our family and friends.  But I’m doing something that I consider an incredible privilege, an opportunity of a lifetime to lead the State Department, and I’m focused on doing that each and every day.

Via:  SECRETARY POMPEO:  Oh, goodness.  I’m so focused on what I’m doing.  We just ripped through half a dozen topics.  There’s another 20 we could’ve gone through.  I spend every waking moment working to try and achieve good diplomatic outcomes for the people of Kansas.  That’s my mission set; it’s what I’m focused onAs for what happens tomorrow, a week from now, or two years from now, goodness only knows.

Via:  SECRETARY POMPEO:  Every day I am focused on my mission as the Secretary of State, America’s most senior diplomat.  It’s what I think about.  It’s what I’m focused on.  I kind of miss following Kansas politics as closely as it sounds like you are, but I have a very clear mission from President Trump and from the American people to deliver on his America First foreign policy, and me and the team that I have the privilege to lead here for a little bit are going to continue to do that.

Via:    SECRETARY POMPEO:  I have no Earthly idea.  I’m so focused on what I’m doing each and every day and so proud to represent the great people at the State Department every day.  I haven’t spent a heck of a lot of time thinking about my future.  I think there’s a lot of other people thinking about my future an awful lot more than Susan and I think about it.

Via: SECRETARY POMPEO:  Yeah.  I’m very focused on what I’m doing.  You just heard me recount half a dozen opportunities for America around the world.  I get the privilege to serve as President Trump’s Secretary of State, and I’m focused on that every day and plan to continue that.

Via: SECRETARY POMPEO:  Well, Pete, I always want to come back to Kansas.  Susan and I love it here.  We miss it.  When I flew in last night, it certainly feels like home.  But I’ve seen the speculation. I’ve been unambiguous, but I continue to get asked.  I’m focused on what I’m doing every day.  I want to be the Secretary of State as long as President Trump wants me to continue to do this.  That’s my focus.  What comes next, goodness knows.  But every day my sole focus is ensuring that I’m doing my best to deliver American diplomacy, and leading my team to successfully protect American people all around the world.

Via: SECRETARY POMPEO:  I’m still focused on what I’m doing, Lily.  I see the noise, I hear it, but my mission set every day is very clear.  I intend to stay in this current role just as long as President Trump says, “I want you to be my most senior diplomat.”  That’s the mission set. I came back to Kansas for this incredible privilege to give a lecture at K-State as part of the Landon Lecture Series where amazing people – presidents and all kinds of great leaders – have had the opportunity to come.  Mikhail Gorbachev – he had this opportunity to speak to K-Staters and people of this community.  And I’m really looking forward to it.

 

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Secretary Pompeo Gives a Speech in Indiana, Next Week He’ll Deliver a Lecture in Kansas #hesnotrunning

 

The Washington Examiner recently reported that Mike Pompeo has “closed the door on any speculation he might run for the open Senate seat in Kansas next year.”  “I am going to stay here,” he said in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “There’s lots of people talking about it. The only one who’s not talking about it is me.”
The interview was conducted just a day after he attended an event with the Committee to Unleash American Prosperity, a group launched in 2015 with a stated goal of “persuading the presidential hopefuls in both parties to focus on the paramount challenge facing our country: slow growth and stagnant incomes.” (Also see Mike Pompeo’s Kansas Run: He’s Running, He’s Not …He’s Running, He’s … He’s …).
On August 27, Secretary Pompeo, delivered remarks at the 101st National Convention of The American Legion, this time in Indianapolis, Indiana and told attendees “we’re not going to apologize for America anymore”. Excerpt below:

Some of our leaders would say that the idea of America, or of “Americanism,” means inherent racism, or sexism.  Others say that Americanism is a code word for a narrow-minded nationalism.  Some even want us to reject the founding principles which have blessed us since 1776.  They want to substitute our founders’ words for something else.

They’d like us to shun those founding principles, principles that were bestowed on us by God and codified in our Constitution and properly taught in our schools’ civics courses.  They want us to reject the very ideas that are central to understanding our nation’s exceptionalism, and indeed its greatness.

That can’t happen, and I’m counting on you all to help me make sure that that never happens.  (Applause.)

And when it comes to Americanism in our foreign policy, for decades, frankly we just plain ignored it.  We didn’t lead.  We let the bureaucrats in international organizations lead us.  We let our allies shun their responsibilities.

We pretended our enemies were our friends, and sometimes sadly we even appeased them.

But those days are over.  No more.  The Trump administration – and you’ll hear it from the Vice President tomorrow – we’ve gotten back to the basics.  As I said when I was in Cairo now a few months back, we’re not going to apologize for America anymore.  (Applause.)  No, Americanism is something that we must be proud of.  We’re putting it at the center of our foreign policy.  Every one of my diplomats all across the world knows it, and is delivering it.

On Friday, September 6, 2019, he will also deliver the 190th Landon Lecture in the McCain Auditorium at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Sounds like a bunch of domestic stuff going on for somebody who’s not running for political office. Get ready, in any case; Foggy Bottom could get Mick Mulvaney as Acting SecState 🙂 We live in Netflix’s Stranger World.

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@StateDept Releases Statement on Rudy’s Ukraine Project

 

Mike Pompeo’s Kansas Run: He’s Running, He’s Not …He’s Running, He’s … He’s …

 

We don’t usually post about politics but since it’s about Secretary Pompeo, we’ll make an exception. Bloomberg is reporting that “Republican political donors have been told to hold off contributing to the 2020 U.S. Senate race in Kansas in the expectation that Secretary of State Michael Pompeo may decide to run, according to two people familiar with the matter.” 
The Kansas run was reportedly ruled out in late winter, but by mid-summer, it appeared to have been re-opened.
Bloomberg adds that “While Pompeo has been equivocal about a possible run, his actions and speeches have only fueled speculation that he’s laying the groundwork for a Senate bid — and possibly a presidential run in 2024.”

U.S. Secretary of State MIchael R. Pompeo and Mrs. Susan Pompeo wave as they depart, Brasila, Brazil, January 2, 2019. Secretary Pompeo is on travel to Brasilia, Brazil, and Cartagena, Colombia, from December 31, 2018, to January 2, 2019. [State Department photo by Ron Pryzsucha/ Public Domain]

Ballotpedia says that voters in Kansas will elect one member to the U.S. Senate in the election on November 3, 2020.  The election will fill the Class II Senate seat held by Pat Roberts (R). Roberts was first elected in 1996.  Apparently, some folks in the GOP are concerned that former Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius will run — and win — if Kobach is the GOP Senate nominee.” Yeah, that guy.
Senator Roberts was reelected in 2014 with 53.1% of the votes.  Senator Jerry Moran, the junior senator from Kansas was re-elected in 2016 with 62.2% of the votes.  Roberts has held his seat for 22 years, Moran for 8 years. So.
Basically Mr. Pompeo has two glaring choices: stay and face the possibility of firing by a tweet, by a volatile, thin-skinned president, or run for an almost sure seat with a 6-year term extending from January 3, 2021 until January 3, 2027.  If elected to the U.S. Senate, could he run for president in 2024?  Well, he could. We don’t know if he’d win but sixteen senators went on to become presidents. Four of them served just three years in the U.S. Senate before running for president: Obama, Barack (2005-2008); Nixon, Richard M. (1950-1953); Harrison, William Henry 1825-1828; and Jackson, Andrew  1797-1798; 1823-1825. Senate.gov says that G. Harding, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama moved directly from the U.S. Senate to the White House.
On the other hand, only six secretaries of state went on to become presidents (Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams, Van Buren, Buchanan).  The last one elected president was sooo long ago, the 17th Secretary of State  James Buchanan. He served at the State Department from 1845–1849 and eight years later became the 15th President of the United States and served one term from 1857 – 1861. So.
The candidate filing deadline is June 1, 2020 with the primary election scheduled for August 4, 2020. Let us know when he’s make up his mind, will ya?

Delayed Report Over Retaliation Against @StateDept Career Staffers Heats Up

 

In September 2018, we blogged about State/OIG and the Office of Special Counsel looking into political reprisals at the State Department (See State/OIG and OSC Reportedly Looking Into Political Reprisals @StateDept); Office of Special Counsel on Political Inquiries/Political Discrimination During Reassignments).
Via Politico:

The probe is expected to cover a wide array of suspected mistreatment of Foreign Service and Civil Service officers by Trump political appointees. The majority of the alleged improprieties are thought to have occurred under former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, but the accused include some political appointees who also served under Pompeo.

Among the allegations: that a political appointee made loyalty lists of career staffers she considered supportive or unsupportive of Trump; that numerous career employees, including high-ranking ones, were given low-level duties processing Freedom of Information Act requests to punish them for work they did under former President Barack Obama; and that one career staffer’s assignment to a top policy post was cut short because of her Iranian ancestry and her work on the Iran nuclear deal.

Revelations that outside conservative figures, such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, may have played a role in targeting career staffers have fueled the anticipation of Linick’s findings.

Originally, one major report was expected, but Linick has said he decided to split it into two. The first will cover dysfunction in the State bureau that deals with international organizations. The second will cover the actions of top officials who report directly to the secretary.

We’ve asked State/OIG about this and here’s what the office told us:
“We submitted the draft report to the Department in July. As is always the case, we have given the Department the opportunity to submit a response to the report, and the Department has informed us that it wishes to do so. We have granted the Department’s request for two extensions for this report, and its response is due this week. We regularly grant extensions because, if at all possible, we believe that it is important to have the Department’s response to our conclusions. We anticipate publishing the report this month.”

 

U.S. Ambassador to Japan William F. Hagerty IV Resigns to Run For U.S. Senate

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On July 16, the US Embassy in Tokyo issues a statement concerning the expected resignation of Ambassador William F. Hagerty IV:
U.S. Ambassador to Japan William F. Hagerty IV is in the process of resigning as Ambassador. He was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Japan on July 27, 2017 and will have served approximately two years.
Ambassador Hagerty is honored to have represented the President and the American people in his work to advance the U.S.-Japan Alliance, the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Pacific.
Upon Ambassador Hagerty’s departure, Joseph M. Young will assume duties as the U.S. Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
Ambassador Hagerty reportedly departed post on July 22, 2019.
According to Embassy Tokyo, CDA Young became Chargé d’Affaires ad interim on July 20, 2019. Below is his brief bio:
CDA Joseph M. Young began his tenure as Deputy Chief of Mission on August 17, 2017. Mr. Young, a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, previously served as Director for Japanese Affairs at the Department of State from August 2014. From 2012 to 2014, he was Deputy Foreign Policy Advisor for the U.S. Pacific Command. Mr. Young served as Political-Military Unit Chief at U.S. Embassy Tokyo from 2009 to 2012.
Mr. Young’s other assignments include: Political-Economic Section Chief, U.S. Embassy Dublin (2004-2007); Aviation Negotiations Officer in the State Department’s Economics Bureau (2002-2004); Economics Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Beijing (1999-2002); Economics Research at the Foreign Service Institute (1996-1997); Political Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Nairobi (1994-1996); and Consular Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Singapore (1991-1993).
Mr. Young holds a master’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in Classics from Borromeo College. He speaks Japanese and Chinese. Mr. Young is married and has three daughters.

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Elizabeth Warren’s Plan For Rebuilding the State Department

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Click on image to see Warren's plan

Click on image to see Warren’s plan

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Cartoonists Draw #TrumpUKVisit In Vivid Colors, Also NYT to Drop Editorial Cartoons as of July 1st

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The National Cartoonists Society recently expressed its great dismay at the NYT decision to cease running daily editorial cartoons in all international editions of the New York Times as of July 1st, 2019 as they have also done for the domestic edition.

“Editorial cartooning is an invaluable form of pointed critique in American newspapers that dates back to the 19th-century work of the legendary Thomas Nast, as well as to pamphlet images published by Benjamin Franklin. The history of our great nation can be read through the pens of our editorial artists and cartoonists. … We find ourselves in a critical time in history when political insight is needed more than ever, yet we see more and more cartoonists vanishing from the pages of our publications. If we are to dull the voices of our most valued critics, satirists, and artists, we stand to lose much more than the ability to debate and converse; We lose our ability to grow as a society. We rob future generations of their opportunity to learn from our mistakes.”

Read the full statement here.

A couple of weeks earlier, during Trump’s visit to the UK, the political cartoonists were out in vivid colors. What’s going on, New York Times?

@StateDept Recalls Amb. Marie Yovanovitch From Ukraine After Persistent Campaign For Removal

 

The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich has reportedly been recalled and now expected to depart post on or about May 20. This development followed a persistent campaign for her removal among conservative media outlets in the United States as well as allegations by Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Lutsenko concerning a do not prosecute list.

The State Department reportedly told RFE/RL  on May 6,  that Ambassador Yovanovitch “is concluding her 3-year diplomatic assignment in Kyiv in 2019 as planned.” And that “her confirmed departure date in May aligns with the presidential transition in Ukraine,” which elected a new president in April.

While that may well be true – she was confirmed in 2016, a 3-year tour is a typical assignment; the new Ukraine president takes office on June 3rd — it is hard to ignore the louder voices calling for the ambassador’s removal from post for political reasons. It doesn’t help that there is no Senate confirmed EUR Assistant Secretary or that the Secretary of State did not see it fit to come forward to defend his top representative in a priority country in Europe.

Ambassador Yovanovich is a career diplomat and a Senate-confirmed Ambassador representing the United States in Ukraine. She previously served as Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia (2008-2011) under President Obama and to the Kyrgyz Republic (2005-2008) under President George W. Bush. We’ve seen people calling career diplomats “holdovers”. If they were political appointees, they would be called “holdovers” or “burrowers,” but they are career public servants; that term does not apply to them. If some folks insists on calling them “holdovers,” then the least that these folks can do is to accurately enumerate all the public servants’ prior presidential appointments, some going back 30 years at the start of their careers in the diplomatic service.

Perhaps it is helpful to point out that as career appointees, ambassadors like Ambassador Yovanovich do not go freelancing nor do they go rogue; they do not make their own policy concerning their host country.  They typically get their marching orders from their home bureau, in this case, the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR) at the State Department, under the oversight of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, who report to the Secretary of State.  And they follow those orders.  Even if they disagree with those orders or the administration’s policies. Career diplomats who do not follow their instructions do not have lengthy careers in the diplomatic service.

After all that, if the United States is taking the word of a foreign official over our own ambassador, it’s open season for our career diplomats. Will the “you want a U.S. ambassador kicked out from a specific country go on teevee ” removal campaign going to become a thing now? Will the Secretary of Swagger steps up?

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Congress Demands Pompeo Turn Over Documents on Political Targeting of @StateDept Employees

 

On March 15, Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations “denounced the State Department’s attempts to obstruct investigations into reports of politically-motivated retaliation against career Department employees.”

In a letter to Secretary Pompeo, they demanded that “the Department comply with past Congressional requests for information on this matter, stretching back over the past year.”

“To date, despite three specific requests and multiple follow-up efforts by our offices, the Department has failed to respond to our requests for interviews or provide any responsive records. After nearly a year, it suggests the State Department is stonewalling a legitimate congressional request for information on matters that are squarely within our Committees’ oversight jurisdiction. We are therefore restating our demand for a response to our prior queries on this matter and are prepared to use appropriate tools at our disposal to prompt a substantive response.”

The congressional demand requires that the Department submit all documents requested by March 21 and facilitate Committee interviews with Department officials implicated in this matter by April 30.

Among the items requested:

(1) all documents and communications referring or relating to any reassignment or proposed reassignment that was considered or ordered since January 20, 2017, of career or civil service employees at the Department;

(2) all documents and communications referring or relating to any proposed or actual reassignment or removal of career or civil service employees at the Department since January 20, 2017, based on alleged personal political beliefs, prior service with previous Administrations, or work on prior Administrations’ foreign policy priorities, including any documents authored by, copying, involving, or referring to:

(a) Christine Ciccone;

(b) Makan Delrahim;

(c) Sean Doocey;

(d) Julia Haller;

(e) Brian Hook;

(f) Edward Lacey;

(g) Matthew Mowers; or

(h) Margaret Peterlin; and

(3) all documents and communications referring or relating to proposed or actual personnel actions since January 20, 2017, against Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, including the curtailment of her detail to the Policy Planning staff.

The congressional request also notes:

“To the extent that the Department may have been relying on a legal theory that our requests somehow lapsed at the end of the 115th Congress, we write today to dispense with that argument and hereby formally restate our prior requests.”

The congressional request asks for transcribed interviews with the following individuals.

A schedule of availability for the Committees to conduct transcribed interviews with each of the following individuals, with the first interview to be conducted no later than April 1, 2019, and with all interviews to be conducted no later than April 30, 2019:

(a) Christine Ciccone;

(b) Makan Delrahim;

(c) Sean Doocey;

(d) Julia Haller;

(e) Brian Hook;

(f) Edward Lacey;

(g) Matthew Mowers;

(h) Margaret Peterlin;

(i) Andrew Veprek;

(j) John Zadrozny; and

(k) Kevin Moley

This request has been overgrown with grass;  some of those they want to interview are no longer in Foggy Bottom. It looks like Congress sent their first request on March 15, 2018, two days after Tillerson was fired in a tweet. The full statement from Rep. Engel and Senator Menendez is available here. The letter to Secretary Pompeo is here.

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