US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a press conference while US President Donald Trump looks on after his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on February 28, 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Tuan Mark | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo abruptly canceled a trip to Europe in his last week in office as the country’s top diplomat.
The cancellation came after several European officials refused to meet with Pompeo, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The nudge from European officials comes a week after thousands of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol and sent shock waves around the world.
Pompeo was due to travel to Belgium on Wednesday on his final diplomatic mission to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes. Stoltenberg and Wilmes, along with a number of world leaders, publicly described the deadly uprising in the US Capitol as “shocking”.
The trip later that week also included a stop in Luxembourg, according to Reuters reports.
The State Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement Tuesday that the decision to cancel the trip was made in order to continue to work with President-elect Joe Biden’s team on a “smooth and orderly transition process”.
“We are fully committed to completing a smooth and orderly transition process that is expected to be completed within the next 8 days. Both the President-elect’s department and team have been fully committed to this for several weeks and we are pleased with the level.” of the collaboration and professionalism that was shown, “wrote Ortagus.
Antony Blinken, Biden’s election to lead the State Department, is expected to provide Pompeo’s team with a list of career officials who will temporarily remain in office pending the Senate confirmation process.
Foreign Secretary candidate Antony Blinken speaks after being introduced by President-Elect Joe Biden as he introduces key foreign policy and national security candidates and appointments at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware on November 24, 2020.
Mark Makela | Getty Images
Last week, Pompeo confirmed in a tweet that he had met Blinken and called the meeting “very productive”.
It was not immediately clear whether the two were discussing the deadly uprising in the U.S. Capitol that had only occurred two days earlier.