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Pompeo's Trip to Europe, Just Announced, Is Canceled

State Department says the Biden transition is the reason, not threats of violence
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 12, 2021 1:47 PM CST

(Newser) – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has canceled what would have been his final official trip abroad as concerns grow over potential violence at next week's presidential inauguration, the State Department said Tuesday. Less than 18 hours after announcing that Pompeo would be traveling to Brussels on Wednesday to close out his tenure as America's top diplomat, the department said it had pulled down all senior-level overseas travel, including the secretary's. A spokeswoman said the decision had been made to assist in the transition to the incoming Biden administration. Since last week's deadly assault on the US Capitol by rioters, concerns have been raised about the security of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. Officials said the cancellation of Pompeo’s trip was intended to support the transition, the AP reports, and was not related to fears of violence.

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Pompeo, who was criticized for not immediately recognizing Biden's victory over Trump in November's election, met last week with his designated successor, Antony Blinken, in what a State Department official described as a cordial meeting. "We are expecting shortly a plan from the incoming administration identifying the career officials who will remain in positions of responsibility on an acting basis until the Senate confirmation process is complete for incoming officials," the spokeswoman said. "As a result, we are canceling all planned travel this week, including the secretary’s trip to Europe." The department's most senior career diplomat, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, who is No. 3 in the hierarchy, is expected to serve as acting secretary of state from noon on Jan. 20 until Blinken is confirmed by the Senate.

(Read more Mike Pompeo stories.)

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