In a pre-recorded speech from Jerusalem, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked President Donald Trump for his work as president, saying he’s made the country “more secure,” while speaking for the Republican National Convention.
“The primary Constitutional function of the national government is ensuring that your family — and mine — are safe and enjoy the freedom to live, to work, to learn and to worship as they choose,” Pompeo said.
— Team Trump (Text VOTE to 88022) (@TeamTrump) August 26, 2020
“Delivering on this duty to keep us safe and our freedoms intact, this president has led bold initiatives in nearly every corner of the world,” he continued.
Pompeo pointed to Trump’s tough stance on “the predatory aggression of the Chinese Communist Party,” noting the president “will not rest” until China is held accountable for initial coverups of the coronavirus. He also said Trump has ended “ridiculously unfair trade deals with China that punched a hole in our economy.”
Pompeo also pointed to the president’s historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“The president lowered the temperature and, against all odds, got North Korean leadership to the table. No nuclear tests, no long range missile tests and Americans held captive in North Korea came home to their families as did the precious remains of scores of our heroes who fought in Korea,” he said. (RELATED: RNC Night 2 Kicks Off With Prayer For Jacob Blake And His Family)
Pompeo also touted the president for approving an air strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
And while speaking from Jerusalem, Pompeo noted the President’s work with Israel.
“The president moved the U.S. Embassy to his very city of God, Jerusalem, the rightful capital of the Jewish homeland. And the President brokered a historic peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, that our grandchildren will read about in their history books.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, opened an investigation into Pompeo’s speech, according to CNN. Pompeo’s decision breaks with longstanding precedent of sitting secretaries of state avoiding partisan politics.
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) August 25, 2020
In a letter to Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, Castro called the speech “highly unusual.”
“It is highly unusual, and likely unprecedented, for a sitting Secretary of State to speak at a partisan convention for either of the political parties. It appears that it may also be illegal.”
Castro cited the Hatch Act and State Department guidance, including a December memo from the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser that “Senate-confirmed presidential appointees may not even attend a political party convention or convention-related event,” according to CNN.
A spokesperson from the State Department defended the decision to speak, saying Pompeo would deliver the remarks in his personal capacity and that no taxpayer funds would be used. The speech was allegedly cleared by Pompeo’s personal lawyers, State Department and White House lawyers and RNC lawyers, per the same article.