President Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that he prefers loyalists in his administration. And Trump has no greater loyalist than Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose unquestioning devotion to the president is the focus of a scathing op-ed by Michael H. Fuchs (former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs) for The Guardian.
“Donald Trump’s disdain for the people, country and values his office is supposed to represent is unmatched in recent memory,” Fuchs asserts. “And he has found in the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, a kindred spirit who has embraced his role as Trumpism’s number one proselytizer to the world.”
Fuchs cites the recent firing of former State Department Inspector General Steve Linick as a glaring example of Pompeo’s adherence to Trumpism. Linick’s cardinal sin, in Pompeo’s mind, was that he was not a devoted Trump loyalist — and for that reason, he had to go.
“Pompeo doesn’t wield nearly as much power or have the jurisdiction to inflict damage on as wide a range of issues as the president,” Fuchs notes. “He’s not as crass or erratic as Trump, and his Twitter feed seems dedicated more to childish mockery than outright attacks. But when it comes to foreign policy, Pompeo’s penchant for undermining America’s credibility is top-notch.”
Pompeo, Fuchs explains, deeply resented the scrutiny he was getting from Linick.
“According to news reports,” Fuchs notes, “Pompeo was being investigated by the inspector general for bypassing Congress and possibly breaking the law in sending weapons to Saudi Arabia, even though his own department and the rest of the U.S. government advised against the decision. He was also supposedly organizing fancy dinners — paid for by taxpayers — with influential businesspeople and TV personalities that seemed geared more towards supporting Pompeo’s political career than advancing U.S. foreign policy goals. And he was reportedly being scrutinized for using department personnel to conduct personal business, such as getting dry cleaning and walking his dog.”
During the Ukraine scandal, Fuchs recalls, Pompeo “defended Trump while throwing under the bus career State Department officials, like the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Marie Yovanovitch, who spoke out.” Moreover, Fuchs adds, Pompeo “has regularly ignored Congress, withholding documents from lawmakers — including during the Ukraine impeachment investigation – and refusing to appear for testimony.”
Fuchs concludes his op-ed by stressing that when Trump damages the United States’ credibility in the world, he does so with Pompeo’s help.
“The fish, they say, rots from the head,” Fuchs asserts. “And Pompeo, like his boss, is actively undermining the values embodied by the state department, its professionals and the Americans they represent.”