Mike Pompeo becomes the first Kansan Secretary of State

Leroy Wright
May 3, 2018

Washington's powerful crowded into the State Department's gold-trimmed, pillar-lined Benjamin Franklin Room on Wednesday along with members of the first family to watch President Donald Trump laud the new secretary of state before Vice President Mike Pence led Pompeo through his swearing-in ceremony.

The US President Donald trump, for his part, said he did not doubt that Pompeo will perform "an incredible job". In addition, it was likely a swipe at Trump's own formerly appointed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was sacked recently.

Trump avoided the State Department during Tillerson's rocky tenure, and has been slow to fill a slew of top diplomatic postings.

"The United States diplomatic corps need to be in every corner, every stretch of the world, executing missions on behalf of this country, and it is my humble, noble undertaking to help you achieve that", said Pompeo Tuesday while speaking to personnel who gathered as he arrived for his first full day at the State Department.

"To stand here and look at the most important diplomatic corps in the world is enormously humbling to me", said Pompeo, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency before being switched by the president to the State Department.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed. Pompeo is also playing a leading role in Trump's diplomacy with North Korea, and he secretly traveled to Pyongyang last month and met with Kim Jong Un ahead of Trump's planned summit with the North Korean leader.

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And Trump routinely excoriated Hillary Clinton and the department she led for her use of a private email server and the response to the 2012 attack on USA facilities In Benghazi, Libya.

Trump for the first time publicly extolled "the extraordinary men and women of the State Department". "With Mike, we've had a very good chemistry right from the beginning".

He added, "The American people are counting on us to get this right". The White House later said Trump had been joking.

Pompeo spoke of the threats posed by Iran and Russian Federation - as well as the economic threat posed by China - in his opening remarks.

After outlining those challenges, as well as work to be done with European allies, Pompeo directly addressed "my colleagues here", and said, "when I say we're going to do this, I mean 'we.' This is a team effort at the State Department and the whole of the United States government". Pompeo has repeatedly promised to reinvigorate the department.

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