WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Mike Pompey has sidelined the results of last week’s presidential election, showing that President Donald Trump lost his bid for a second time. Pompeo told reporters on Tuesday that the “transition” to a second Trump office would be “sensitive”, but that the State Department would be ready no matter who becomes president on inauguration day.
It came at a tense moment for the country as Trump’s refusal to accept President-elect Joe Biden, hitting Pompey’s tongue-in-cheek or, suggesting that Trump could be re-elected. Despite being hailed by world leaders as the former vice president, Pompey, the fourth highest-ranking US diplomat and president, has spoken out.
Pompey, one of Trump’s most trusted cabinet members, “ridiculously” dismissed the suggestion that Trump’s arguments, which are not fraudulent, could damage U.S. credibility when weighing foreign elections.
Pompey’s comments came in response to a question about whether the State Department was ready to engage with the Biden team.
“The second Trump administration will transition smoothly,” Pompeo said with a tickle before switching to a more serious tone. “We are ready. The world is watching what is happening here. We are going to count all the votes. When the process is complete, the voters will be elected. There is a process, the constitution makes it very clear.”
“The world must have every confidence that the State Department is active today, that it is successful today, and that it will succeed with the incumbent president one minute later on January 20,” he said.
In refusing to acknowledge Biden’s victory, Pompey, the 2024 presidential candidate, rallied behind Trump’s efforts to fight the election results, along with other prominent Republicans. It is doubtful whether there will be a subtle transition leading to Biden’s January 20 opening.
Biden later retracted Pompey’s remarks, saying “there is no evidence to support the allegations made by the president or the foreign secretary.”
However, some Democratic members of Congress were not amused.
Elliott Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement that “Pompeii should not be allowed to play with the baseless and dangerous attacks on the legitimacy of elections last week.”
“The State Department must now begin preparations for the transition of Biden, who was elected president,” said Engel, a persistent critic of Pompeo.
Pompeo will embark on a diplomatic tour of Europe and the Middle East on Friday, including France, Turkey, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, where he will meet with leaders who have already congratulated Biden on his victory.
He said in rejecting suggestions that allegations of fraud that Trump did not support would have an impact on America’s standing when commenting on elections in other countries:
“I am the secretary of state. I get calls from all over the world. These people are watching our elections. They understand that we have a legal process. They understand that it will take time.”
“We’re in good shape, we’re in good shape,” Pompeo said.
He mocked the question of how Trump’s rejection of election results would play out abroad from a journalist. In recent weeks, Pompeii and the State Department have expressed concern about election rigging from Belarus to Ivory Coast and Tanzania.
“It’s ridiculous and you know it’s ridiculous, and you asked because it’s ridiculous,” Pompey told reporters when asked if Trump’s attitude would hurt the U.S. situation. “You asked a ridiculous question. This department deeply cares about ensuring that elections around the world are safe and secure and free and fair and that my officers risk their lives to see it happen.”