Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is the rare cabinet officer who has maintained a kinship with President Trump over time. For a boss prone to outbursts and who gets tired of staffers about as frequently as he drinks Diet Coke, staying close to the president is no small feat. It’s clear Pompeo still has Trump’s confidence.
As the impeachment investigation heats up, more and more stories have appeared in the press painting Pompeo as a partisan actor more concerned about staying on Trump’s good side than standing up for the people at the State Department he is supposed to be leading. There is an emerging divide between career diplomats on one side and the senior State Department leadership team on the other, with the rank and file reportedly grilling Pompeo’s deputies about the lack of transparency and the secretary’s unwillingness to defend former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch from a Rudy Giuliani-orchestrated smear campaign. State Department employees are reaching out to Congress on their own initiative, registering their worries about leadership and policy issues directly to lawmakers.
All of this comes on top of the already-frosty relationship between Pompeo and Congress, which after all is responsible for authorizing the State Department’s operations and appropriating its budget. Democrats lost patience with the secretary a long time ago. Frigid ties with Congress are nothing new of course, but Pompeo’s penchant to be a political attack dog for the Trump administration is not exactly helping matters.