Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is canceling his much-anticipated visit to Ukraine so he can stay and monitor the situation in Baghdad with regard to violent protests sparked by the U.S. bombing near the Iraq-Syrian border.
The New York Times reports:
The department’s spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, said in a statement that Mr. Pompeo aimed to “ensure the safety and security of Americans in the Middle East” by staying in Washington and would travel in the “near future” to the countries he had been scheduled to visit.
The Iraqi protesters, who were mostly members of Iranian-backed militias, broke into the embassy compound on Tuesday and set some outbuildings on fire. The attackers trapped diplomats and other embassy employees inside larger buildings, but the ambassador, Matthew Tueller, was outside the country on leave. The protests on Wednesday were calmer, and no demonstrators breached the gates. Protesters dispersed in the afternoon, and there were no reports of injuries.
Huh, well then you'd think there would be an all-clear for Pompeo to meet with President Zelensky in Ukraine, given that it's such a hugely sensitive and highly-anticipated meeting and all. Was there perhaps another quid pro quo expected from the Ukrainian leader before scoring a meeting with the Secretary of State?
Meanwhile, this is the excuse:
Former State Department officials and associates of Mr. Pompeo say he has been keen to ensure that American diplomats are not harmed under his watch, especially because as a congressman, he was among the most scathing critics of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s handling of a militant group’s attack on an American compound in Benghazi, Libya. The 2012 assault resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
Don't everyone laugh at once, but apparently Pompeo thinks Democrats blow things way out of proportion for political gain like Republicans do!
I think it's worth trying to figure out why the Trump administration is snubbing Ukraine's president for the second (or third?) time. I'd bet $100 bucks it's related to the reason Trump was impeached.
This happened because Mike Pompeo did not want Taylor to be there when he arrived. Optics or some such. (Yes, that is sarcasm you detect)
— Jennifer Hansler (@jmhansler) January 2, 2020