Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clashed Friday with Democratic lawmakers today, after several of them were critical of him for not appearing more promptly before congress. They were hoping to attack him over the killing of Iran’s top military leader.
“We had to move heaven and earth to get you here for just two hours,” said Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.). “It is shameful” that “you are going to talk to a special interest group,” while only giving two hours to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.).
Pompeo spoke at CPAC’s (Conservative Political Action Conference) annual meeting later on Friday morning.
Committee chairman Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) called it an “embarrassment,” while Republicans fired back, saying their colleagues were being disrespectful to the secretary of state.
“This is exhausting,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who accused Democrats of trying to get a “YouTube moment” out of the hearing.
Democrats were trying to maximize their time through the use of yes or no questions, a format that Pompeo refused to agree to, resulting in combative, interruption-laden exchanges.
“That’s a straw-man argument,” Pompeo told Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), who tried to pin him down on a yes or no question related to the border wall and the Coronavirus.
The result was exchanges that were light on substance but heavy on conflict. Democrats questioned the Trump administration’s Iran policy which they noted has resulted in more attacks on American interests and an expansion of Iran’s nuclear program.
But on the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Pompeo insisted the decision has made Americans more safe. “It’s undoubtedly the case they are more safe,” Pompeo said.
The original topic of the hearing was to discuss the U.S. killing of Soleimani, but lawmakers peppered Pompeo with questions about the Coronavirus.
Pompeo said he was confident the United States is reducing the threat to Americans but expressed irritation at receiving questions about the outbreak when the purpose of the hearing was to discuss U.S.-Iran policy.
“Just so you know, we agreed that I would come here to talk about Iran,” Pompeo said. “The first question today is not about Iran.”
For more information visit our friends at the Washington Post.