Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told critics of his Republican National Convention appearance it was in a "personal capacity" and cleared by the State Department.
"I did this in my personal capacity," Pompeo said Wednesday during a reporters briefing. "All I can say in my role as secretary of State is, the State Department reviewed this, it was lawful. And I personally felt it was important that the world hear the message of what this administration has accomplished."
Pompeo appeared via a prerecorded video shot atop his hotel in Jerusalem while touring the Middle East. The speech drew cries of foul from Democrats – namely the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committees subpanel on oversight Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas – that the appearance of a Cabinet secretary before a partisan political convention was unprecedented and potentially unlawful.
However, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson also spoke at the convention, and, in 2012, six of then-President Barack Obama's Cabinet secretaries –Health and Human Services' Kathleen Sebelius, Interior's Ken Salazar, Agriculture's Tom Vilsack, Education's Arne Duncan, Veterans Affairs' Eric Shinseki, and the Small Business Administration's Karen Mills – all spoke before the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Pompeo used his speech to highlight what he considered the successes of President Donald Trump's foreign policy, specifically moving the United States' Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and discussions with North Korea's leadership.
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