Secretary of State Mike Pompeo battled reporters over President Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the presidential election, predicting “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration” despite the fact that former Vice President Joe Biden is the projected winner of the race.
The comment from Pompeo, a top ally of the president, came during a combative news conference at the State Department on Tuesday when the Cabinet member was asked whether the agency is prepared to engage with Biden’s transition team.
“There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” Pompeo replied.
“We’re ready,” Pompeo continued. “The world is watching what’s taking place. We’re gonna count all the votes. When the process is complete, there’ll be electors selected. There’s a process. The Constitution lays it out pretty clearly. The world should have every confidence that the transition necessary to make sure that the State Department is functional today … and successful with a president who’s in office on Jan. 20, a minute after noon, will also be successful.”
Pompeo appeared to smirk after delivering the line about a “second Trump administration,” though it was unclear from his remarks themselves whether he was joking. The State Department did not immediately respond to an inquiry about his comments.
The secretary of State’s remark quickly drew widespread attention and could signal to U.S. allies and enemies alike how to handle results in their own elections.
— The Hill (@thehill) November 10, 2020
Pompeo, who is seen as a possible 2024 presidential contender, also dismissed as “ridiculous” a separate question on whether he has given guidance to diplomats to refer to Biden as “president-elect” and whether Trump’s refusal to accept the results undermines the State Department’s frequent statements calling for free and fair elections in other countries.
“That’s ridiculous, and you know it’s ridiculous, and you asked it because it’s ridiculous,” Pompeo said. ”This department cares deeply to make sure that elections around the world are safe and secure and free and fair, and my officers risk their lives to ensure that that happens. They work diligently on that. We often encounter situations where it’s not clear about a particular election. We work to uncover facts, we work to do discovery, to learn whether in fact the outcome, the decision that was made reflected the will of the people. That’s our responsibility.”
“The United States has an election system that is laid out deeply in our Constitution, and we’re going to make sure that we get that right,” he added. “You want every vote to be counted. You want to run the process. We want the lot to be imposed in a way that reflects the reality of what took place, and that’s what I think we’re engaged in here in the United States and that’s what
we work on every place all across the world.”
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