Secretary of State Mike Pompeo excoriated his predecessor John Kerry at a State Department briefing on Friday for his “unseemly and unprecedented” behavior.
In response to a reporter’s request for comment on Kerry’s multiple meetings with Iranian officials since leaving office, Pompeo said, “What Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly and unprecedented. This is a former secretary of state engaged with the world’s largest state sponsor of terror and, according to him… he was talking to them, he was telling them to wait out this administration.”
The reporter also wanted to know whether Pompeo thought Kerry and other former officials were interfering or undermining the Trump administration’s efforts to gain cooperation from European leaders regarding new U.S. policies on Iran. Republican lawmakers have accused Kerry of violating the Logan Act, and President Trump called the meetings “illegal.”
Pompeo said he would “leave the legal determinations to others,” but made it crystal clear he strongly disapproved of Kerry’s actions.
“You can’t find precedent for this in U.S. history and Secretary Kerry ought not to engage in that kind of behavior,” he said. “It’s inconsistent with what the foreign policy of the United States is as directed by this president, and it is beyond inappropriate.”
Pompeo pointed out that he saw Kerry at the Munich Security Conference in February with former Obama Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Obama Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, calling them “the troika.”
“I’m confident that they met with their troika counterparts,” Pompeo continued. “I wasn’t in the meeting, but I am reasonably confident that he was not there in support of U.S. policy with respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran — who this week, fired Katyusha rockets toward the United States embassy in Baghdad and took action against our consulate in Basra.”
He added: “Actively undermining U.S. policy as a former secretary of state is literally unheard of.”