Secretary of State Mike Pompeo maintained Tuesday evening that there’s “an awful lot of work to do” for the Trump administration while declining to outright acknowledge Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race.
Pompeo was pressed during an interview on Fox News about his remark earlier Tuesday vowing “a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked Pompeo if his comment was intended to be serious.
“We’ll have a smooth transition and we’ll see what the people ultimately decided when all the votes have been cast,” Pompeo responded, while declining to immediately acknowledge Biden as president-elect. “We have a process, Bret. The Constitution lays out how electors vote, it’s a very detailed process.”
“I am very confident that we will have a good transition, that we will make sure that whoever is in office on noon on Jan. 20 has all the tools readily available so that we don’t skip a beat with the capacity to keep America safe,” he added.
The secretary of State was asked about the growing list of world leaders who have reached out to Biden to congratulate him after last week’s election. Multiple news outlets, including Fox, projected Biden as the winner of the race on Saturday, though President Trump has refused to concede and has launched legal challenges in multiple states.
“We’re reminding everyone that all the votes haven’t been counted. We need to make sure the legal process is fully complied with and then America will do what it does best. We’ll have a leader in the White House, noon on Jan. 20, and we’ll continue to execute American foreign policy,” Pompeo said.
“That’s what we’re focused on, that’s what I have my team focused on. There’s still a lot going on in the world, we’re pretty focused here in America on our own election. A lot’s still going on in the world and we’re focused on making sure we keep Americans safe during this time period,” Pompeo added.
Asked if it was “appropriate” for global leaders to be speaking to Biden if the secretary of State did not think the election was over, Pompeo responded, “If they’re just saying hi, I suppose that’s not too terribly difficult. But make no mistake about it — we have one president, one secretary of State, one national security team at a time.”
The comments come as Pompeo faces blowback for remarks he made to reporters earlier on Tuesday, when he said there “will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration” despite Trump’s projected defeat in the presidential race.
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