Speed Reads

RNC 2020

Mike Pompeo accused of using Jerusalem as 'political prop' in upcoming RNC speech

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has drawn heavy criticism for his decision to give a speech Tuesday as part of the Republican National Convention. Pompeo will deliver the address from Jerusalem, where he's visiting in a diplomatic capacity.

Some analysts believe he's violating the Hatch Act by campaigning for President Trump while on a taxpayer-funded foreign trip, or, at the very least, ignoring a State Department memo — one he previously signed off on — which says Senate-confirmed officials should avoid appearing at partisan events. Harvard University's Nicholas Burns, who previously served as a senior U.S. diplomat, said Pompeo should be "focused on restoring America's lost global credibility." And Lauren Baer, a foreign policy adviser in the Obama administration, said the planned speech is "deeply troubling" for the future of U.S. diplomacy.

Other commentators focused on the location, including Ilan Goldenberg, the Middle East security direct at the Center for a New American Security. Goldenberg views Pompeo's speech as an attempt to appeal to the Republican Party's evangelical voting bloc while exploiting the Israel-Palestine conflict. Tim O'Donnell