Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has plunged into the heart of the 2020 presidential race with a speech supporting President Donald Trump’s reelection at the Republican National Convention.
The speech was recorded in Jerusalem during an official visit to the Middle East and aired Tuesday at the RNC.
“President Trump understands what my great fellow Kansan President Eisenhower said, for all that we cherish and desire for ourselves, the securing of peace is the first requestion it is. The primary constitutional function 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.
Pompeo continued, “Delivering on this duty to keep us safe and our freedoms intact. This president has led bold initiatives in every corner of the world. In China, he pulled back the curtain on the Chinese communist party and their aggression. The president has held China accountable for covering up the China virus and allowing it to spread death and destruction.”
The address was roundly condemned by Democrats and others as an inappropriate breach of decades of diplomatic precedent and a possible violation of federal law prohibiting executive branch employees from overt political activism while on duty. Indeed, Pompeo himself had reminded State Department staffers of those restrictions only last month.
“Mike Pompeo is breaking the law,” Keith Boykins, a CNN contributor and former White House aide to former President Bill Clinton, tweeted.
“Mike Pompeo banned State employees from attending political conventions, but he’s speaking at the RNC from a diplomatic trip (that you’re paying for, because he’s supposed to be working for you). Don’t watch. Volunteer,” Swing Left, a left-wing group dedicated to “flipping the Senate” and “defending the House,” tweeted before his speech.
But while the venue and audience were extraordinary and perhaps problematic, the content of Pompeo’s roughly four-minute speech would not have been out of place in any number of his previous public appearances either at home or abroad.
Pompeo delivered standard recitations of GOP claims about the successes of Trump’s “America First” foreign policy against Russia, China and Iran. He said they made his family and all Americans safer. He spoke of the defeat of the Islamic State’s physical caliphate, Trump’s pro-Israel agenda and the president’s determined vigilance to guard against the “predatory aggression” of the Chinese Communist Party.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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