Biden campaign slams Pompeo Jerusalem speech, accuses Trump of politicizing Israel

The Biden campaign attacked Trump for seeking to use Israel as a “political wedge issue.”

By David Isaac, World Israel News

The Biden campaign blasted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night, which was pre-recorded from Jerusalem, accusing the Trump administration of seeking to politicize a bipartisan issue.

“Making this inherently partisan address from Jerusalem is also the latest instance of this administration seeking to use Israel as a political wedge issue, when the historic bipartisan support in Washington for Israel and her security should never be subordinated to politicization for personal gain,” Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.

Pompeo, who arrived in Israel on Monday as part of a Mideast tour, recorded his speech on the rooftop of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

The Biden campaign said it wasn’t “just an abuse of taxpayer dollars, it undermines the critical work being done by the State Department.”

“Even by this administration’s abysmally low standards, Secretary Pompeo’s decision to serve as an errand boy for the President’s re-election on a taxpayer-funded diplomatic mission, and his decision to use one of our closest partners as a political prop in the process, is absolutely disgraceful,” Bedingfield said.

The State Department had told the Associated Press, “Secretary Pompeo will address the convention in his personal capacity.”

“No State Department resources will be used. Staff are not involved in preparing the remarks or in the arrangements for Secretary Pompeo’s appearance. The State Department will not bear any costs in conjunction with this appearance,” it said.

According to State Department guidelines, employees can’t take part in political activities while on official business abroad. Similarly, the Hatch Act forbids government employees from engaging in political activities.

Pompeo sent a cable to all U.S. diplomatic missions last month warning American diplomats that under federal law they should not take overt sides in the presidential campaign.

On July 24, in the cable sent over his signature, Pompeo told employees “it is important to remember that in order to avoid any confusion or misperception in this regard, the department’s longstanding policy is that U.S. citizen employees and family members may not engage in partisan political activity while posted or on (temporary duty) abroad, even on personal time.”

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a fierce Pompeo critic, said, “Once again, the rules go out the window for Secretary Pompeo when they get in the way of serving his political interests and Donald Trump.”

AP contributed to this report.