WASHINGTON – As Secretary of State during the Trump administration, Mike Pompeo had little regard for the most posh diplomatic protocols of his job and routinely threw verbal blows at foreign governments, political opponents and the mass media.
Mr Pompeo has not been in office for more than two months and has not stopped beating. In a series of speeches, interviews, and Twitter posts, he appears as the most outspoken critic of President Biden among former top Trump officials. And, just as in office, he ignores the practice of current and former state secretaries avoiding the appearance of political bias.
In consecutive appearances in Iowa and during one Interview in New Hampshire Last week, Mr Pompeo questioned the Biden government’s determination to face China. In Iowa, he accused the White House of “willy-nilly without thinking” turning the Trump administration’s immigration policy around. He mocked Mr Biden for referring to notes during his first official press conference Thursday.
“What’s great about not being a Secretary of State anymore is that I can say things that I couldn’t say as a diplomat,” said Mr Pompeo to you the next morning small crowd at the Westside Conservative Club near Des Moines.
It doesn’t matter that even as the nation’s best diplomat, he was barely known for biting his tongue. It seems clear that Mr. Pompeo, a former Kansas Republican Congressman, is animated not only by freedom but also by the pursuit of high electoral office that friends and foes have long known. His appearances in two of the president’s battlefield states only seem to confirm his widespread interest in a 2024 presidential campaign.
“Usually former presidents and state secretaries try not to destroy their successors quickly – especially in foreign affairs,” said Michael Beschloss, a historian for the president. He said Mr Pompeo “probably believes he is demonstrating his trumpiness by scourging the performance of newly appointed President Biden.”
“This hastiness is not a sign of self-confidence,” said Decision. “Presidential aspirants who believe in their stamina are not so handy.”
Mr Pompeo’s political strategist did not respond to messages asking for comment or an interview, but people close to Mr Pompeo said that the Democratic secretaries of state standing before him including John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, President Donald J. Trump openly criticized.
But Mr Kerry mostly held his tongue and grew during the early months of the Trump presidency more openly critical – albeit less relentlessly – after Mr Trump announced in June 2017 that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. By the time Mr. Trump took office earlier this year, his opponent, Ms. Clinton, had long laid off impartial diplomatic veneer.
In particular, Mr Pompeo avoided Antony J. Blinken, the current Secretary of State, with whom he criticized directly he said He had a “productive” meeting in January prior to Mr. Biden’s inauguration.
However, since then he has repeatedly denounced policies in which Mr Blinken is a key player.
Last week, Mr Pompeo tweeted that the Biden administration’s plans to resume aid to the Palestinians who were canceled under Mr Trump were “immoral” and would support terrorist activities. “Americans and Israelis should be outraged by the Biden government’s plans” Mr Pompeo wrote.
However, his comment goes beyond foreign policy. Mr Pompeo has also condemned Mr Biden’s “backward” open border policy. And on March 19th just him tweeted the number 1,327 – an obvious indication of the number of days until the 2024 election.
Mr Pompeo appears to have an increased sense of hostility towards Mr Kerry, who is back in government as Mr Biden’s climate gazar. In part, that appointment is “a bad sign of American energy and affordable energy here at home,” said Pompeo in Iowa.
And in a February 22nd Appearance on Fox NewsMr Pompeo discharged his predecessor over meetings Mr Kerry had with Iranian Foreign Secretary Mohammad Javad Zarif during the Trump years in what Mr Pompeo called an “un-American” effort to undermine Mr Trump’s foreign policy.
There is little evidence that Mr Pompeo’s criticism has hit a nerve with Biden officials and their allies. When asked about last month’s remarks, a State Department spokesman, Ned Price, declined to respond directly, but said the Biden and Trump administrations share the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
“Nobody cares,” said Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama. tweeted in response on a recent news report of a Pompeo criticism of Mr Biden’s policies.
Mr. Pompeo attracted modest crowds but a warm welcome at two events in Iowa. He was planned to speak to Republicans in New Hampshire on Monday on a video fundraiser for a State House candidate.
Republicans say Mr Pompeo has a chance to unite the Trump movement with the more traditional Reaganite wing of the party in which it has its roots. But he will have a steep climb.
Some polls show it lags far behind almost all of the other Republican competitors by 2024 in Iowa and New Hampshire. Even Mr. Trump if asked during a Fox News interview last week, fails to mention Mr Pompeo when naming Republicans whom he expects to shape the future of the party.
“It’s going to be a very crowded field and someone like Pompeo takes time to break through, which is why he’s starting so early,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and former advisor to Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida.
For some, Mr Pompeo is simply continuing a nod-and-wink campaign he began as Secretary of State when he gave several speeches to audiences in swing states, to evangelical conservatives, and at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
He was the first acting Secretary of State in modern history to address a party’s national convention, a platform where he introduced himself to a local audience during a taxpayer-funded diplomatic visit to Jerusalem in August. He also hosted about two dozen foreign policy dinners for two years at the State Department with American business leaders and political conservatives whose support would be vital to future campaigns.
Mr Conant said Mr Pompeo most likely felt he needed to take on a high-profile and combative role early on in order to gain a foothold among Republican voters.
“Pompeo is still trying to establish its brand,” said Conant. “He’s not that well known in and of itself, and the way to get attention is to be partisan and show the Republican grassroots that you are ready to take the fight to the Democrats.”
Mr Pompeo made his recent policy of support for medium-term Republican Congress candidates.
“If we get 2022 right, 2024 will resolve itself,” said Pompeo in Iowa.
When pressured, Mr Pompeo did not deny that he was considering a presidential campaign.
“I’m always ready for a good fight,” Pompeo told Fox News host Sean Hannity all in one March 3rd interview when asked if he would run. “I’ve been part of the conservative movement for a long time. I want to hold on to it.”
“I may take this as strong,” replied Mr. Hannity.
“That’s perfect,” said Mr. Pompeo.
In a separate Fox News appearance last month, Mr Pompeo complained that former Obama officials like Mr Kerry had tried to stay active, at least on world politics.
“They lost an election and they should have just got off the stage,” said Pompeo.