Washington: Deviating from his own advice and breaking the longstanding precedent of sitting US secretaries of state avoiding partisan politics, Mike Pompeo has urged Americans to re-elect President Donald Trump if they want to keep the country safe and their freedoms intact.
The unconventional address of Pompeo at the second day of the mostly-virtual Republican National Convention on Tuesday created a political uproar, especially from the opposition Democratic Party, which asserted that the Secretary of State should stay away from partisan politics.
The decision to speak to the political convention in pre-recorded remarks from Jerusalem breaks with the longstanding precedent of sitting secretaries of state avoiding partisan politics and appears to violate guidance on political activities that Pompeo himself emphasised in a cable to diplomats just last month.
Brushing away the criticism, Pompeo said that his speech from Israel is in his personal capacity.
"The primary Constitutional function of the national government is ensuring your family and mine are safe and enjoy the freedom to live, work, learn and worship as they choose. Delivering on this duty to keep us safe and our freedoms intact, this President has led bold initiatives in nearly every corner of the world," Pompeo said in his address.
Noting that Americans are more safe, and their freedoms more secure, because Trump has put his America First vision into action, Pompeo asserted that it may not have made him popular in every foreign capital, but it has worked.
"In China, he has pulled back the curtain on the predatory aggression of the Chinese Communist Party. The President has held China accountable for covering up the China virus and allowing it to spread death and economic destruction in America and around the world, and he will not rest until justice is done," the Secretary of State said.
The US has accused China of spreading the novel coronavirus, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
More than 5 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the US so far. There have been more than 170,000 deaths in the country.
Pompeo said Trump has ensured that the Chinese Communist Party spies posing as diplomats are jailed or sent back to China.
He has "ended ridiculously unfair trade deals with China that punched a hole in the economy. Those jobs are coming back home," he said.
In North Korea, the President lowered the temperature and, against all odds, got North Korean leadership to the table, Pompeo said.
"No nuclear tests, no long-range missile tests and Americans held captive in North Korea came home to their families as did the precious remains of scores of our heroes who fought in Korea," he said.
"Today, because of President Trump, NATO is stronger, Ukraine has defensive weapons systems and America left a harmful treaty so our nation can now build missiles to deter Russian aggression," Pompeo said.
According to Pompeo, in the Middle East when Iran threatened, the President approved a strike that killed Iranian terrorist, Qasem Soleimani, the man responsible for the murder and maiming of hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of Christians across the Middle East.
"You will all recall that when the President took office, radical Islamic terrorists had beheaded Americans and ISIS-controlled a territory the size of Great Britain. Today, because of the President's determination and leadership, the ISIS caliphate is wiped out, its evil leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead, and our brave soldiers are on their way home," he told his countrymen.
The President exited the US from the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran and squeezed the Ayatollah, Hezbollah and Hamas, he said.
Pompeo said that the President moved the US Embassy to this very city of God, Jerusalem, the rightful capital of the Jewish homeland, he said.
"And the President brokered a historic peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, that our grandchildren will read about in their history books," he said.
"As a soldier, I saw, first hand, people desperate to flee to freedom. The way each of us can best ensure our freedoms is by electing leaders who don't just talk, but deliver," he said.
Meanwhile, a House Democrat has opened an investigation into Pompeo's controversial decision to address the Republican National Convention.
Rep Joaquin Castro, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, said in a statement on Tuesday that the "American people deserve a full investigation."