The New York Times on Monday characterized former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a partisan combatant who is flouting protocol that former secretaries remain quiet after their exit from public service.
“Out of office for more than two months, Mr. Pompeo has not stopped punching,” the Times wrote. “In a series of speeches, interviews and Twitter posts, he is emerging as the most outspoken critic of President Biden among former top Trump officials. And he is ignoring, much as he did in office, the custom that current and former secretaries of state avoid the appearance of political partisanship.”
Mike Pompeo is emerging as the most outspoken critic of President Biden among former top Trump officials, ignoring, much as he did in office, the custom that current and former secretaries of state avoid the appearance of political partisanship. https://t.co/HFkDxGUXOi
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 30, 2021
The criticism glossed over the fact that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who served under President Barack Obama’s tenure from 2009 to 2013, later went on to become the Democratic presidential nominee just three years after leaving the State Department. Obama’s next secretary of state, former Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, remained a critic of Republicans throughout the Trump years and re-entered the White House under President Joe Biden as the climate czar.
While the Times acknowledged the political presence of Clinton and Kerry in their post-diplomatic careers, the paper de-emphasized their frequent criticisms and presented their partisanship as mere pushback from Pompeo’s allies.
“Mr. Pompeo’s political strategist did not respond to messages seeking comment or an interview, but people close to Mr. Pompeo said Democratic secretaries of state before him, including John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, were openly critical of President Donald J. Trump,” the paper wrote. “But Mr. Kerry largely held his tongue for the first months of the Trump presidency, growing more openly critical — if less relentlessly so — after Mr. Trump announced in June 2017 that the United States would pull out of the Paris climate agreement.”
On Clinton, the Times merely wrote, “By the time Mr. Trump took office earlier that year, Mrs. Clinton, his election opponent, had long shed any nonpartisan diplomatic veneer.”
Clinton had announced her bid for president as early as 2015, just two years after leaving the Obama administration. Shortly after she lost in 2016, the former secretary of state went on a book tour where she blamed the Russians and has since continued to spew debunked conspiracies alleging her political opponents are agents of the Kremlin government.
By May 2017, Kerry railed against the new Trump administration in a speech to Harvard graduates telling them they should learn to speak Russian to work in the White House, as a special counsel probe went underway to investigate Trump. Kerry also engaged in shadow diplomacy with Iran in 2018 to undermine the Trump administration and save the Iran deal.
But Pompeo, according to the Times, is breaking protocol to probe presidential ambitions.