- The Washington Times - Friday, January 11, 2019

The new Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has sharply criticized Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s wide-ranging speech on Middle East policy in Cairo this week, saying Mr. Pompeo was airing a partisan fight with the Obama administration in front of a foreign audience.

Rep. Eliot Engel, New York Democrat, said in a statement that the Trump administration was guilty of many of the things Mr. Pompeo accused the prior Democratic administration of doing in the Middle East, including sending “terribly mixed signals” about U.S. policy, neglecting allies and “partner[ing] with enemies.”

“While many of the goals Secretary Pompeo laid out in Cairo yesterday were laudable, the speech’s tone and the administration’s actions are at odds with the vision he offered,” Mr. Engel said.

“And frankly, it’s just embarrassing that an American secretary of state would travel so far just to spend so much time lobbing political insults at the previous administration,” the congressman added. “Our diplomats do their jobs regardless of the domestic political climate. They shouldn’t have to listen to their boss grind a partisan ax in a foreign country.”

Mr. Pompeo offered a stinging critique of President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies in his Thursday address in Egypt, a centerpiece of his nine-day tour of the region. He accused the Obama administration of failing to understand the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, wrongly seeking to accommodate Iran and not supporting U.S. allies.

Without explicitly naming the former president, Mr. Pompeo asserted, “The good news is this: The age of self-inflicted American shame is over and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering.”

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