Officials said the cancellation of Mike Pompeo’s trip was intended to support the transition and was not linked to fears of violence
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has canceled what would have been his last official overseas trip as concerns grow over potential violence during next week’s presidential inauguration, the State Department said on the 12th. January.
Less than 18 hours after announcing that Pompeo would be traveling to Brussels this week to end his tenure as top U.S. diplomat, the department said it had cut all high-profile overseas travel, including that of the secretary.
Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the decision has been made to assist with the transition to the new Biden administration, which will take office on January 20.
Since last week’s deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol by rioters encouraged by President Donald Trump, concerns have been raised about the safety of Mr. Biden’s nomination. Officials said the cancellation of Mr Pompeo’s trip was intended to support the transition and was not linked to fears of violence.
“The State Department is well advanced in its transition efforts with President-elect Biden’s team,” Ortagus said in a statement.
“We are fully committed to a smooth and orderly transition process that will be finalized over the next 8 days. The President-elect’s department and team have been fully committed for several weeks to this end, and we are satisfied with the level of cooperation and professionalism that has been demonstrated. Mr Pompeo, who was criticized for not immediately recognizing Mr Biden’s victory over Mr Trump in the November election, met his designated successor, Antony Blinken, last week in what a department official of state called it a cordial meeting.
“We are awaiting a plan from the new administration shortly identifying career officials who will remain in senior positions on an acting basis until the Senate confirmation process is completed for new officials,” Ms. Ortagus said in the press release.
“As a result, we are canceling all trips scheduled for this week, including the Secretary’s trip to Europe.” The department’s top career diplomat, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, who is No. 3 in the hierarchy, is expected to take on the role of Acting Secretary of State from noon on January 20 until ‘Mr Blinken will be confirmed by the Senate.
The department announced Monday evening that Mr. Pompeo would visit Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday on his last trip abroad as the top US diplomat. During his stay, Pompeo intended to meet with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and Belgian Foreign Minister before returning to Washington.