On July 6, 2019, just days after the July 1st CNN report on a whistleblower claiming Secretary Pompeo’s security picks up Chinese food, and the dog, Sherman, apparently from the groomer, the Washington Times has a rollicking coverage of Susan Pompeo.
‘Do you feel safe?’ Susan Pompeo makes happiness, security of diplomatic families her mission” blares the headline. She’s not a government employee, so the chances of getting her on the podium to speak about this mission is not high, but the next time reporters get a chance to er … grill her, please ask her where she was when State Department employees were terrified while trying to find an accommodation for their special needs children and their education while overseas.
Where was Mrs. Pompeo when the medical provider at State was deemed to lack a “fundamental lack of compassion” and lack of understanding and empathy for Foreign Service personnel and families?
Where was Mrs. Pompeo when a senior official of her husband’s agency appears to believe that individuals and families with any sort of special need should not serve overseas, should curtail or break assignments, should stay indefinitely in the United States, or even leave the Foreign Service altogether?
Employees and family members already facing physical, mental and educational challenges, also had to face fear of retribution given the reported hostile and adversarial relationship fostered by a bureau tasked with taking care of employees and families.
Despite reported mistreatment, Foreign Service families have not publicly pushed back, and anything reported are only on background, for fear that their actions could result in the denial of financial support for needed services for special needs children or fear that it would put in jeopardy clearances for themselves and their dependents. Without appropriate clearances, employees would not be able to work overseas or may have to contend with family separation for members with limited clearances.
If taking care of diplomatic families has become her mission, we’re curious where was Mrs. Pompeo when this issue was causing so much pain, fear, and distractions among FS families? (Also see Under Secretary Bulatao on Enhancing Support for Employees with Children with Special Needs June 30, 2019).
If Mrs. Pompeo wants to make “happiness” and “security” her mission, and that’s the reason she is traveling the globe with her husband, fine. Foreign Service families are short of advocates, and they could use the help. But, if she is running around telling us this is her mission but was somehow not around for the most vulnerable members of the FS family, what does that say about her mission?
As an aside – we should note that following the furor over her travel with Secretary Pompeo during the January 2019 government shutdown, CNN reported that the secretary described his wife’s trip as a “working trip” — apparently telling reporters she joined him to try to help the department “be better.” “So she meets with the medical officers. She’ll tour housing. She will write up her thoughts and comments after that. And I wish I had time to do each of those things myself, but she is a force multiplier,” Secretary Pompeo said according to CNN.
If she did a trip report for that January trip, it has so far remained a secret. By March 2019, as she became increasingly visible flying around with Secretary Pompeo, the official word coming out of Foggy Bottom is that the secretary “reimburses the United States government for all appropriate expenses, including Mrs. Pompeo’s travel, in accordance with the law.”
Oh, by the way, we think employees at a small post — with leaks in a new embassy compound building roofs in Paramaribo and suffering from exposure to mold — needs help. The health hazard was identified in March 2017! And the problem still had not been resolved. Imagine that. We’re guessing that they are not terribly happy nor feeling heath-safe over there.
Also, to the 7th floor denizens reading this post, can you please suggest to Mrs. P. not/not to parachute to posts for coffee or for housing tour during the summer transfer season when spouses are preparing to pack-out (them with their mile-long lists of things to do)? Just between us, if we’re in the spouses’ shoes, we’d want to scream at our coffee cups, too, especially as these events are never really voluntary.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) June 7, 2019