Speed Reads

grass is greener?

State Department staff are souring on Mike Pompeo

There is a creeping feeling at the State Department that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will not be a marked improvement over his widely disliked predecessor, Rex Tillerson, who departed almost two months ago, Politico reports. "Pompeo at least has a more open process," said former State Department official Ilan Goldenberg. "You're not hearing as much that everything goes through policy planning or the secretary won't talk to anybody."

Still, Pompeo's lack of pushback against President Trump's demands has left some staffers "worried that he won't defend the department's interests," Politico writes. Staffers were watching, for example, when Pompeo didn't argue at a congressional hearing against Trump's attempts to cut their funding by approximately 30 percent. Officials are also concerned about where Pompeo will stand on Trump's nomination of Ronald Mortensen as assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration — a man Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has branded unfavorably as a "virulent opponent of immigration."

"People are still hopeful about Pompeo," said the president of the American Academy of Diplomacy, Ronald Neumann. "But they're getting a dose of reality." Added Goldenberg: "It's a low bar because of how terrible Tillerson was on all of these things." Read more about Pompeo's reception in the department at Politico.