Friday, May 4, 2018

Chatty Pompeo strikes early contrast with reclusive Tillerson

Nahal Toosi, Politico

Image from article, with caption: Pompeo gives a press conference during a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting


[W]hile Tillerson showed no visible interest in social media, a person familiar with Pompeo’s situation said he is considering using Twitter.

David Wade, a former chief of staff to Secretary of State John Kerry, argued that a secretary of state’s public words matter well beyond the Washington Beltway. “Externally, you’re in a race to define the American narrative against those like Russia and China which will fill in their own narrative if you’re absent,” he said.

Calling Tillerson “an abysmal failure at communications both internally and externally,” Wade said Pompeo “can be a good communicator, and as a politician he’s more talented than his predecessor.” But, he added, “all the public diplomacy [JB emphasis] in the world can’t get him out from under the weight of Trump’s tweets and slurs about people from the Middle East to Africa.”

The timing of Pompeo’s Thursday confirmation vote allowed him to attend a long-scheduled meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels the next day, winning him early plaudits from others in the military alliance. ...

Pompeo left Washington with six journalists on his plane. On his first major overseas trip, Tillerson brought just one reporter, from the conservative Independent Journal Review.

As he continued from Brussels to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan over the weekend, Pompeo picked up two more reporters. He spoke to the reporters on the plane and also took questions during news conferences on the ground.

Tillerson, by contrast, generally avoided even the reporters who — having been denied seats on his official plane — chased him around the world on commercial flights. ...

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