Pompeo accused of using official State Department Twitter account to ‘soft-launch’ presidential campaign

The secretary put out a series of valedictory tweets and promised more to come from “Just me, Mike.”

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Saturday 02 January 2021 00:36 GMT
Mike Pompeo: I did not write anti-Trump New York Times piece
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted out a series of upbeat posts on Friday about how America is full of “swagger” since he’s been top diplomat, furthering speculation he’s eyeing a run for president in 2024.

“We’re so much safer today than four years ago,” secretary Pompeo began. “Over the coming days, I’m going to lay out the mission set, the huge wins, personal stories, and a lot more. Just me, Mike.”

He went on to tweet out a serious of posts about how the State Department is full of “swagger” — using a made up definition of the term — returning to his attempt in 2018 to rebrand the agency as the Department of Swagger. The accompanying photos were more or less about just Mike as well.

Political observers argued Mr Pompeo was violating norms by using his official government account to put out campaign-style communications.

Lindy Li, who worked with the Biden campaign, accused Mr Pompeo of "using his [secretary of state] role & official social media to soft-launch his 2024 presidential campaign"

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.

Secretary Pompeo is one of the most visible and long-serving faces of the Trump administration, and even before the tweets, there was speculation he wanted to run for the top job next election cycle, after he made a high-profile speech in Georgia in December, as well as other politics-adjacent events like an appearance in swing state Wisconsin weeks before the electio.

During his swearing in, Mr Pompeo vowed that State would “get its swagger back,” and swagger certainly defined his approach to the job. The State Department at times referred to the “Pompeo Doctrine” towards policy in the Middle East, even though it’s usually the president who officially names such strategy.

He’s also attracted scrutiny for holding “Madison Dinners” with top Republicans and presidential allies, and ethics groups called on the FBI to investigate him after the ouster of a State Department internal watchdog who had been conducting investigations into the official and the department at large, on topics ranging from Saudi arms sales to the Pompeo family allegedly using government staff for personal errands.

The swagger didn’t exactly convert into international goodwill though, with the international reputation of the US tanking during the Trump years after the highs of the Obama adminstration, according to Pew Research, including with key US allies like the UK, France, and Germany. 

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