- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted Tuesday that he believes President Trump will emerge as the winner of last week’s election, despite mainstream media coverage backing presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s claim to victory.

“There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” Mr. Pompeo said when asked during a press conference at State Department headquarters whether the department is preparing to engage with the Biden transition team.

In his first public remarks on the election result, Mr. Pompeo said Mr. Trump is fully within his rights to challenge the vote counting and expressed confidence the final outcome will be in Mr. Trump’s favor.

“We must count every legal vote. We must make sure that any vote that wasn’t lawful ought not be counted,” the secretary of state said. “When we get it right, we’ll get it right. We’re in good shape.”

Mr. Pompeo separately bristled at a reporter who asked whether Mr. Trump’s unwillingness thus far to concede has discredited the State Department, which has a history of issuing statements encouraging free and fair elections in other nations and of reminding the losers in such elections to accept the results.

“That’s ridiculous, and you know it’s ridiculous, and you asked it because it’s ridiculous,” Mr. Pompeo said. “You asked a question that is ridiculous. This department cares deeply to make sure that elections around the world are safe and secure and free and fair, and my officers risk their lives to ensure that that happens. They work diligently on that.”

“We often encounter situations where it’s not clear about a particular election. We work to uncover facts. We work to do discovery to learn whether in fact the outcome, the decision that was made reflected the will of the people … to make sure those elections are free and fair,” he added. “We want every one of those votes to be counted in the same way that we have every expectation that every vote here in the United States will be counted, too. It is totally appropriate. The United States has an election system that is laid out deeply in our Constitution, and we’re going to make sure that we get that right.”

Mr. Pompeo also told reporters that “the world is watching what’s taking place here” and that he has “been getting calls from all across the world.”

“These people are watching our election. They understand that we have a legal process. They understand that this takes time. Right?” he said, comparing the current situation to the 2000 election dispute between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

“It took us 37 plus days in an election back in 2000,” Mr. Pompeo said. “We conducted a successful transition then. I’m very confident that we will count every legal vote.”

The secretary of state also pushed back at a question about the extent to which Mr. Trump’s resistance to conceding may elevate national security risks to the United States because of a delayed or uncertain transition of power at the State Department.

“I am very confident that we will do all the things that are necessary to make sure that the United States government will continue to perform its national security function as we go forward,” Mr. Pompeo said.

• Guy Taylor can be reached at gtaylor@washingtontimes.com.

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