Secretary Pompeo Says Kerry’s Iran Meddling is “Beyond Inappropriate”
In an unusually forceful rebuke from the nation’s top diplomat, Secretary Mike Pompeo lit into his State Department predecessor on Friday for sticking his nose into world affairs that no longer concerned him. Irate over John Kerry’s recent book tour, in which the former Secretary of State freely admitted meeting with Iran’s foreign minister “three or four times” since leaving the State Department, Pompeo advised Kerry and other Obama officials to stay home and mind their own business.
In a press conference, Pompeo alleged that Kerry’s meetings with Javad Zarif were “beyond inappropriate” at a time when official U.S. policy on Iran has taken a 180 degree turn from the days of the Obama administration. And while he did not co-sign President Donald Trump’s accusation that Kerry’s meetings with the Iranian regime might have been “illegal,” he was no less willing to condemn Kerry’s actions as unhelpful and potentially unpatriotic.
“What Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly and unprecedented,” Pompeo said. “This is a former secretary of state engaged with the largest state sponsor of terror. You can’t find precedent for this in U.S. history. And Secretary Kerry ought not to engage in that kind of behavior.”
Kerry apparently could not be bothered to respond to this criticism on his own, but his spokesman, Matthew Summers, released a statement in an attempt to exonerate his boss from any wrongdoing.
“John Kerry stays in touch with his former counterparts around the world just like every previous secretary of state, and in a long phone conversation with Secretary Pompeo earlier this year he went into great detail about what he had learned about the Iranian’s view,” said Summers. “No secrets were kept from this administration.”
Of course, the problem is not so much that “secrets” are being kept from the Trump administration, it’s that we have a former high-ranking member of the U.S. government traveling abroad with a message that is directly incompatible with current U.S. policy. Kerry is not heading overseas to keep contact with old friends and he’s certainly not going as an emissary of the Trump administration. Quite the contrary, he is, by his own admission, counseling Iran to “wait out” the Trump presidency, a message that is going to make it difficult for Secretary Pompeo to make any headway on a new nuclear agreement.
“I am reasonably confident,” Pompeo said Friday, “that he was not there in support of U.S. policy with respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Of course not. Then again, Kerry was not there in support of American interests even when he was serving as an official representative of the U.S. government.