Pompeo Sworn in as Secretary of State
On Wednesday, former CIA Director Mike Pompeo was officially sworn in as the Trump Administration’s Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State role was previously occupied by Rex Tillerson, who was fired last March by President Donald Trump over disagreements on foreign policy. With the crucial diplomatic position open, President Trump tapped Pompeo to fill in the role. Despite opposition from both Republicans and Democrats, the Senate ultimately confirmed the former Congressman, with a 57-42 vote.
During the swearing-in ceremony, Pompeo assured the audience that his try his best to revitalize the State Department. He noted, "I want the State Department to get its swagger back. We need our men and women out at the front lines executing American diplomacy with great vigor and energy.” President Trump, also in attendance, responded, "That spirit will only be magnified" with Pompeo at the helm.”
Pompeo’s appointment comes at a time when the United States is juggling a host of critical foreign policy issues, including North Korea and the Iran Nuclear Deal. Despite having limited foreign policy experience, Pompeo has already engaged in diplomatic discussions with other countries since being selected to replace his predecessor.
Last week, the White House reported that Pompeo had met with Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, over Easter weekend. Images of Pompeo shaking hands with the regime’s leader were also made available.
Pompeo’s visit comes after North Korea’s announcement in March that the country is willing to discuss with South Korea and the United States about the possibility of denuclearizing its missile program. President Trump accepted the country’s invitation, tweeting, “great progress being made! Meeting being planned.” Pompeo’s purpose to meet Kim was to negotiate the logistics behind the unprecedented summit.
With the U.S maintaining its sanctions on North Korea, Pompeo continues to stand tall and remain cautious in spite of the recent progress. He noted, “This administration will not repeat the mistakes of the past, our eyes are wide open, it’s time to solve this once and for all, a bad deal is not an option, the American people are counting on us to get this right.” Earlier this week, President Trump told reporters more details on his meeting with Kim will come soon, and “an announcement will be made over the next couple of days - location and date.”
Pompeo has also been coordinating with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, who is tasked as the administration’s lead on foreign policy in the middle east. With President Trump has until May 12 to reach a decision on the future of the Iran Nuclear Deal, Pompeo has already signaled that Trump is likely to withdraw the United States from the previous administration’s negotiations.
While on his first international trip to the Middle East, Pompeo suggested that Iran was “behaving worst” since agreeing to the deal back in 2015. In a press conference alongside Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he also added, “We remain deeply concerned about Iran’s dangerous escalation of threats towards Israel and the region.”