Published: Fri, May 04, 2018

Pompeo vows to put USA diplomatic power at Trump's service

Pompeo vows to put USA diplomatic power at Trump's service

Speaking at his ceremonial swearing-in at the State Department, alongside President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, Pompeo outlined his priorities as he begins work as America's top diplomat.

Pompeo is a West Point graduate who served as a cavalry officer along the Iron Curtain, and with the 2nd squadron, 7th Cavalry in the Army's 4th Infantry division before attending Harvard Law School, according to the State Department.

Under Pompeo's leadership, Mr. Trump said staffers will be "doing things that you don't even know about".

In his first week on the job, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo jetted off to Brussels to meet his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation counterparts and bounced around the Middle East. He also told them he wants the diplomatic agency to "get its swagger back" and execute its mission in "every corner of the world". In April, Pompeo secretly met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and said that he had the sense that Kim is serious about denuclearization.

Vice President Mike Pence led the ceremony Wednesday morning at the State Department, and was joined by President Trump as well as Pompeo's family.

Fifteen months after Trump took office, numerous key posts have yet to be filled and Pompeo promised during his confirmation hearings before the Senate to fast-track those nominations.

Pompeo is expected to put a priority on the security of US officials posted overseas. Ultimately, however, a handful of Democratic senators facing tough re-election bids voted to confirm him on the Senate floor after he was barely approved by the Foreign Relations Committee.

Pompeo, the former Central Intelligence Agency director, is replacing Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon executive fired unceremoniously by Trump in March after months of personality and policy clashes. Trump eventually fired him, saying they disagreed on policy issues and clashed personally. Pompeo, as a former congressman, was a leading critic of the Obama administration's handling of an incident viewed by many in the department as tragic but overly politicized.

"I must say that's more spirit than I've heard from the State Department in a long time", Trump said after a round of applause.

Numerous media reports have concluded that Trump was not the top student in his class.

The White House has hinted it could leave the Iran nuclear deal on May 12.

It's a particularly crucial message to send as the coming month will be fraught with both risk and opportunity for the administration and the newly minted secretary of state. "You're an exceptional guy, a great friend and somebody that truly loves our country".

"I have no doubt that you will make America proud as our nation's chief diplomat", Trump said.

Numerous assembled diplomats chuckled in unison.

But he hastened to add that the work to denuclearize Pyongyang is still in the "beginning stages" and "the outcome is certainly yet unknown".

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