Pompeo arrives in Paris for first leg of seven-country tour

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Paris on Saturday morning for the first leg of a seven-country tour. Over the next ten days, Pompeo will visit France, Turkey, Georgia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Pompeo’s travel comes as foreign leaders are beginning to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, even as President Donald Trump refuses to concede. Mr. Biden has spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron, and the leaders of the countries Pompeo is visiting have congratulated the president-elect.

FRANCE-US-DIPLOMACY
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walks to a motorcade vehicle after stepping off a plane at Paris Le Bourget Airport on November 14, 2020, in Le Bourget, at the start of a 10-day trip to Europe and the Middle East. 

PATRICK SEMANSKY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images


However, Pompeo has indicated he believes Mr. Trump won reelection, even though Mr. Biden received 306 electoral votes, far over the 270 threshold needed to be elected. When asked by reporters on Tuesday about the State Department’s engagement with Mr. Biden’s transition team, Pompeo replied there would be a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

“Is the State Department currently preparing to engage with the Biden transition team, and if not, at what point does it hamper a smooth transition or pose a risk to national security,” a reporter asked during a news conference Tuesday at the department.

“There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” Pompeo responded. “The world should have every confidence that the transition necessary to make sure that the State Department is functional today, successful today, and successful with the president who’s in office on January 20th, a minute after noon, will also be successful.”

Later on Tuesday, Pompeo clarified his comments in an interview.

“Our adversaries should know that we’re ready, we’re continuing to work, we’ll work all the way through January.  And then on January 20th, we’ll have a transition, whether it’s to a Trump administration – a second Trump administration as I spoke about today – or to an administration led by former Vice President Biden,” Pompeo said.

The General Services Administration, the agency responsible for overseeing the presidential transition, has not yet formally kickstarted the process. However, Mr. Biden has continued to speak with world leaders without State Department guidance.