Pompeo has badly tarnished his reputation in accommodating Trump. He joins the long list of those damaged by their service to this president. If you’re someone like me, who thought Pompeo was one of the smarter and more effective people in the administration, it’s a sad moment.
This harsh judgment is nearly inescapable after reading the transcripts released Monday of testimony from two key State Department officials: Marie Yovanovitch, a 33-year Foreign Service veteran Trump fired in May as ambassador to Ukraine; and Michael McKinley, a 37-year veteran, who resigned in October as Pompeo’s senior adviser because “the disparagement of a career diplomat [Yovanovitch] doing her job was unacceptable to me.”
At the core of Pompeo’s story is the conundrum of what public service means under an erratic president such as Trump. Pompeo’s defenders argue that the secretary might serve his personal interest by resigning and protecting what’s left of his political career. But would that be the honorable choice, they ask, if it would mean abandoning the State Department to even greater chaos?