Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has drawn fire at home for mixing politics with official State Department business, whether addressing the Republican National Convention from Israel or using the taxpayer dime to give policy speeches in battleground states.
Now, he’s exporting that controversy abroad, causing uproar overseas, where foreign officials have accused him of trying to drag their governments into the election battle between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
The problem was clearly on display this week during Pompeo’s visit to the Vatican, where Pope Francis refused to meet with the secretary during his visit, with Vatican officials accusing the secretary of state of trying to drag the Holy See into the 2020 U.S. election by criticizing its relations with China.
Rome isn’t the only place reeling from Pompeo’s unprecedented breach of the State Department tradition of steering well clear of politics. In Brazil, lawmakers are still trying to come to grips with the damage done by Pompeo’s September visit, ostensibly meant to shore up support for a common front against Venezuela but ultimately about Pompeo’s efforts to boost Trump’s standing with Latino voters in Florida and other battleground states.