Secretary Mike Pompeo got sassy one too many times with Senator Robert Menendez during his testimony today, prompting an amazing display of anger and acrimony from the ranking member to the disrespect shown him by the nation's top "diplomat."
The hearing was drawing to a close as Menendez zeroed in on a key point. "I want you to think about the suggestion that what the President says is not the policy of the United States," he told Pompeo, who immediately asked if he could "clean that up."
Menendez let him go ahead, and Pompeo agreed that he had misspoken, that "the President calls the ball, his statements are policy." Of course, he went on to qualify that by suggesting that in "informal settings" maybe it's not as policy-ish as others.
Intending to be a partisan smartass, Pompeo continued, "I saw the glee on your side trying to make a political point from that. That is silliness. This president runs this government."
Menendez pounced, noting for the record that when Trump speaks, he's making policy.
Pompeo didn't stop there, either. He kept up the filibustering BS, finally suggesting that he had been there for three hours and had heard the "political soliliquy."
At which point, Menendez exploded on him. I will just leave what he said here, but you should watch.
Menendez thundered, "I have listened to your political soliliquy as a Secretary of State sitting at that table demeaning some members here because you said that Senator Shaheen believes more the Russian defense. She was quoting because we don't know what our own government is saying."
"If President Obama did what President Trump did in Helsinki I would be peeling you off the Capitol ceiling," he reminded Pompeo.
"When the president speaks it is the policy of the United States. When he says in one respect I applaud this declaration about Crimea and says Russia should join the G-7. The reason Russia is not in the G-7 is because they invaded Ukraine. Which is the policy? Because when the President speaks it is the policy. when you speak around the world people believe that what you say is a reflection of the policy of the United States."
"I will close by saying one thing I heard here today that I can agree with you is that we need more sanctions and I look forward to working with the chairman and other whose are interested hopefully we can come together in common cause to push back on sanctions that we can pursue."
Menendez wrapped with this. "I want to reiterate, I believe that it is rightful for the members of this committee to speak to the translator and to see her notes. That is the only way we will know what truly transpired."
Corker politely asked Pompeo, "Would you like to give a response?"
Pompeo meekly replied, "Not a word."
And with that, they were done.