Pompeo calls Mattis criticism on American First policy ‘dead wrong’: We dealt in facts, not pretend

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo fired back at former Defense Secretary James Mattis for his rebuke of President Trump’s foreign policy.

Pompeo called out Mattis as “just dead wrong” during a Fox News interview after the retired Marine general wrote an op-ed critical of the Trump administration’s national security policies. Mattis drew backlash after he urged a possibly incoming Joe Biden to “eliminate” Trump’s “America First” policy for a more “cooperative approach.”

“I have a lot of respect for Jim, but he’s just dead wrong on that,” Pompeo told host Bret Baier on “Special Report” Tuesday.

“‘America First’ has been at its heart, a recognition that when America is secure at home, when America does good things for our own economy, for our own prosperity, that America will be a force for good all around the region and that indeed, that we can’t deliver security, increased security around the world when America is not secure,” he added.

(Source: Fox News)

The Foreign Affairs magazine op-ed was co-authored by Mattis and others focusing on their hopes that Biden “will quickly revise the national security strategy to eliminate ‘America first’ from its contents, restoring in its place the commitment to cooperative security that has served the United States so well for decades.”

“In practice, ‘America first’ has meant ‘America alone,’” they wrote. “That has damaged the country’s ability to address problems before they reach U.S. territory and has thus compounded the danger emergent threats pose.”

“I take great umbrage at the fact that it’s been America alone,” Pompeo told Baier.

“I would tell you that our Japanese colleagues, our South Korean colleagues, our Indian colleagues, our Australian colleagues, all know that the [Obama administration] pivot to Asia was a joke but that the United States under President Trump actually delivered real benefits to them,” he continued.

“Whether it was the work that we’ve done to build out an enormous coalition to go after the [Venezuelan] socialist [Nicolas] Maduro, to go after the Cubans, these are real coalitions, real things — it wasn’t America alone,” Pompeo asserted.

“It was us doing it with our friends and allies based on shared interests and a reality that recognized central facts about what is and not pretending that things are as we would like them to be,” he added.

“What’s your greatest concern with what the next administration could do when it comes to foreign policy?” Baier asked, making the assumption that Biden will be declared the next president.

Pompeo responded that he did not want to speculate on the issue but did offer a blunt reality check.

“I know some of these folks, they took a very different view, they lived in a bit of a fantasy world. They led from behind, they appeased,” he said in an apparent reference to Biden’s announced Cabinet picks.

“I hope they will choose a different course,” he added before going on to praise the historic efforts and accomplishments of the Trump administration which Democrats have chosen to ignore.

“Here we are in 2020. It’s different than 2015,” he told Baier.

“I hope they’ll see the things that we have done and how this has delivered greater peace in the Middle East. How it’s reduced risk from North Korea, where we took down what was a very tense situation when we came into office, whether it’s the central recognition of the Chinese Communist Party as a true threat to jobs all across America,” the secretary of state continued.

“If they’ll keep those things center point…I think America’s trajectory will continue to be one that is safer and more prosperous and more secure,” Pompeo concluded. “The freedoms that we have secured for the American people in these four years are something I hope will continue.”

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Frieda Powers

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