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Pompeo draws criticism for giving GOP convention speech from Jerusalem

(Xinhua)    14:32, August 25, 2020

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's scheduled speech on Tuesday to the Republican National Convention (RNC) from Jerusalem is drawing criticism at home.

"Looking forward to sharing with you how my family is more SAFE and more SECURE because of President Trump. See you all on Tuesday night!" Pompeo tweeted Sunday by using his personal Twitter account.

Critics said that Pompeo's upcoming remarks break the tradition of keeping the chief U.S. diplomat out of the party politics.

"It is unprecedented in modern times for a Secretary of State to address a political convention. This is not wise at a time when our chief diplomat should be focused on restoring America's lost global credibility," tweeted Nicolas Burns, a professor at Harvard Kennedy School who once served as undersecretary of state for political affairs under George W. Bush's administration.

A State Department spokesperson defended that Pompeo "would address the convention in his personal capacity. No State Department resources will be used."

U.S. media reported that Pompeo, who was on a visit in Israel, recorded his RNC address on Monday from the rooftop of King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

"At a time when peace and security in Middle East is so tough, Jerusalem should not be a prop for the RNC, and @SecPompeo should not be tarnishing the office of SecState. Unprecedented and wrong," tweeted Wendy Sherman, a senior State Department official under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Pompeo's action might also violate a State Department policy he approved months ago, U.S. media reported Monday.

U.S. magazine POLITICO on Monday obtained an email that Pompeo's deputy Stephen Biegun sent to State Department employees in February, an instruction in which he said: "Senate-confirmed Presidential appointees may not even attend a political party convention or convention-related event."

Pompeo choosing Jerusalem as the speech venue was widely seen as a calculation to woo evangelical Christian voters, as President Donald Trump said last week that he moved the capital of Israel to Jerusalem for evangelicals.

"Pompeo -- arguably worst Secretary of State in modern period is also most politicized/partisan," said Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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