Mike Pompeo had an audition for his new job as secretary of state just about every morning at the White House, where the CIA director gave President Donald Trump his top-secret intelligence briefing.
Pompeo has “tremendous energy, tremendous intellect,” Trump told reporters at the White House Tuesday shortly after tweeting that he was firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and giving the job of top diplomat to the former Republican congressman from Kansas. Equally important was Trump’s observation that “we’re always on the same wavelength.”
Pompeo, 54, has been a key defender of the president’s policies, from Iran to China, and has shown a fierce loyalty, including a proclivity to indulge some of Trump’s views on controversial issues such as Russian meddling in the 2016 election. While that may have improved the standing of an agency Trump attacked repeatedly during his presidential campaign and the transition, it also raised concerns about Pompeo’s commitment to keep the CIA free of politics.
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