- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised President Trump’s actions confronting Chinese aggression and protecting Americans from Islamist terrorists Tuesday night in a highly unusual speech to the Republican National Convention that enraged Democrats, who accused him of crossing a partisan line.

In an address recorded in Jerusalem where he’s traveling on official diplomatic business, Mr. Pompeo said Americans are safer “because President Trump has put his America First vision into action.”

“It may not have made him popular in every foreign capital, but it has worked,” Mr. Pompeo said. “Delivering on this duty to keep us safe and our freedoms intact, this president has led bold initiatives in nearly every corner of the world.”

The nation’s top diplomat said Mr. Trump has “held China accountable for covering up the China virus and allowing it to spread death and economic destruction in America and around the world, and he will not rest until justice is done.”

“He has ensured that Chinese Communist Party spies posing as diplomats are jailed or sent back to China; and he has ended ridiculously unfair trade deals with China that punched a hole in our economy,” Mr. Pompeo said. “Those jobs are coming back home.”

He noted that Mr. Trump ordered a missile strike that killed “Iranian terrorist” Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. soldiers in the Middle East.

“Today, because of the president’s determination and leadership, the ISIS caliphate is wiped out, its evil leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead, and our brave soldiers are on their way home,” Mr. Pompeo said.

Mr. Pompeo was speaking from Jerusalem, which was recognized by Mr. Trump in 2017 as Israel’s capital over the objections of the Palestinian Authority and many foreign heads of state. The secretary of state called it “the rightful capital of the Jewish homeland.”

Before Mr. Pompeo, no sitting secretary of state in modern history had delivered an address for a major party’s national convention.

House Democrats have launched an investigation into whether Mr. Pompeo’s address violates State Department policies and laws against federal employees engaging in partisan political activities.

Mr. Pompeo’s speech was taped in Jerusalem during a tour as part of his official duties. But State Department officials said this week that Mr. Pompeo was addressing the convention in his “personal capacity.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro, Texas Democrat and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called Mr. Pompeo’s address “a blatant willingness to violate federal law for political gain.”

“It’s absolutely unacceptable that a sitting U.S. secretary of state, America’s top diplomat, would use official taxpayer-funded business to participate in a political party convention, particularly after the State Department published guidance that explicitly prohibits such activity,” Mr. Castro said.

A spokesman for the campaign of Democratic Party nominee Joseph R. Biden called the speech “an abuse of taxpayer money.”

Mr. Pompeo sent a cable last month warning U.S. diplomats that federal law bars them from taking overt sides in the presidential campaign.

Referring to a Middle East diplomatic agreement reached earlier this month, Mr. Pompeo said in his address that the president “brokered an historic peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates that our grandchildren will read about in their history books.”

“The way each of us can best ensure our freedoms is by electing leaders who don’t just talk, but deliver,” he said.

In North Korea, Mr. Pompeo said the president “lowered the temperature and, against all odds, got North Korean leadership to the table.”

“No nuclear tests, no long range missile tests and Americans held captive in North Korea came home to their families as did the precious remains of scores of our heroes who fought in Korea,” he said.

He also said NATO is stronger due to Mr. Trump’s insistence on member states paying more for the common defense, and “Ukraine has defensive weapons systems and America left a harmful treaty so our nation can now build missiles to deter Russian aggression.”

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