Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized members of President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration, arguing they “led from behind” and “lived in a bit of a fantasy world” when they governed under President Barack Obama.
The nation’s outgoing top diplomat made the candid remarks while speaking to Fox News’ “Special Report” Tuesday evening after being asked about the incoming commander-in-chief’s appointments to top national security positions.
“I don’t want to speculate. I know some of these folks, they took a very different view, they lived in a bit of a fantasy world. They led from behind, they appeased,” Pompeo told host Bret Baier after being asked what his greatest concern was with regard to foreign policy from the upcoming administration.
“I hope they’ll choose a different course,” he continued.
Pompeo was asked to respond to comments from Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s nominee to be UN ambassador, who said Tuesday that “multilateralism” and “diplomacy are back.”
“I couldn’t tell exactly from her statement, but multilateralism for the sake of hanging out with your buddies at a cool cocktail party, that’s not in the best interest of the United States of America. We work with nations when we have common interests, and we develop coalitions that actually deliver real results and reflect the reality on the ground.”
The secretary of state was responding specifically to Thomas-Greenfield’s comments on her use of what she calls “gumbo diplomacy.”
“In my 35 years in the foreign service across four continents I put a Cajun spin on it. I called it gumbo diplomacy. Wherever I was posted around the world, I would invite people of different backgrounds and beliefs to help me make a rule and chop onions for the holy trinity and make homemade gumbo. It was my way of breaking down barriers, connecting with people and starting to see each other on a human level, a bit of lagniappe is what we say in Louisiana,” the longtime diplomat said when being introduced by the president-elect Tuesday.
In that area of the South, a “lagniappe” is a small gift given to a customer along with a purchase.
“Here we are in 2020, it’s different than 2015. I hope they’ll see the things that we have done and how this has delivered greater peace in the Middle East, how it’s reduced risk from North Korea, where we took down what was a very tense situation when we came into office, whether it’s the central recognition of the Chinese Communist Party as a true threat to jobs all across America,” Pompeo noted at another point in the interview, touting the Trump administration’s achievements over its four years.
Asked if he had spoken to Tony Blinken, the man nominated to be his successor in a Biden administration, Pompeo said no. He did, however, acknowledge the president authorizing the General Services Administration to begin the formal transition process.
“I have not [spoken to Blinken]. Today we began the process to see what GSA’s decision was, and we’ll do everything that’s required by law. We’ll make this work,” he said.