Speculation about why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo got Donald Trump to fire the State Department’s internal watchdog has centered around two investigations. Inspector General Steve Linick was reportedly looking into Pompeo’s decision to allow weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and into whether Pompeo made staff do personal errands for him, like picking up the dry cleaning or walking his dog.
Whichever one it is, Trump thinks it’s just fine; if it’s the latter, Trump thinks it’s fine in typically sexist form: “And now I have you telling me about dog walking, washing dishes and, you know what, I'd rather have him on the phone with some world leader than have him wash dishes because maybe his wife isn't there or his kids aren't there, you know,” Trump told reporters. (Pompeo only has one child, an adult son.) All that tells us is that Donald Trump does not care about the law or ethics—which we already knew—because Trump’s view that “Hey, if the wifey isn’t around to take care of Pompeo’s home life then a subordinate should do so” goes against both of them.
According to the Office of Government Ethics: “Executive branch employees must use official time to perform official duties only. Except in limited circumstances, they are not allowed to perform activities other than official duties during their work day. Employees may not direct or request subordinates to use official time to perform any activities other than official activities.”
This isn’t the first time there have been complaints about Pompeo’s use of staff to perform personal errands. The current allegations have him asking a staff assistant, who is a political appointee, to walk the dog and make dinner reservations. Last year, a whistleblower alleged that Pompeo and his family members were using diplomatic security agents for similar errands, with agents complaining they were “UberEats with guns.”
This isn’t just something to wave off with the view that the big man is too important to do the little tasks. Even if you believe that—and seriously, Pompeo should be able to walk his own damn dog and make his own damn dinner reservations—that doesn’t make it appropriate to have another government employee use their official time on.
Pompeo has faced other questions about his use of government resources, including frequent trips to Kansas, where Republicans have tried to recruit him to run for Senate; his wife’s presence on official travel; his wife taking what one observer described as a “quasi-official role,” including running meetings; and his use of government housing.
Posted with permission from Daily Kos.