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Pompeo talks of new Trump term, playing to false-claim furor

Nick Wadhams
Bloomberg

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said Tuesday there will be a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” a remark which may have been in jest but throws fuel on the president’s unsubstantiated claims that the Nov. 3 election was fraudulent.

“The world should have every confidence” that the Jan. 20 transition will be successful, Pompeo said from the State Department podium in response to a reporter’s question about Joe Biden’s electoral victory. “We’re ready, the world is watching what’s taking place here. We’re going to count all the votes.”

A State Department official didn’t immediately respond to a request to clarify the secretary’s comments. Pompeo later chastised a reporter for asking questions about the U.S. election which he said weren’t “serious.”

Echoing President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that he would be the winner if only “legal votes” were counted, Pompeo said “I’m very confident that we will count, and we must count, every legal vote, we must make sure that any vote that was not lawful ought not be counted, that dilutes your vote if it’s done improperly, gotta get that right. When we get it right, we’ll get it right.”

Representative Abigail Spanberger, a Virginia Democrat and former CIA operative, said in a tweet that Pompeo’s comments imperiled the nation’s “global leadership,” calling them “shameful and dangerous.”

Several world leaders including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan have offered their congratulations to Biden, though the Trump administration has so far refused to recognize his victory and other leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have yet to respond.