PRIORITIES

Report: Pompeo to Slam Obama Middle East Policy in Upcoming Speech

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to bash former President Obama’s Middle East policy in an upcoming speech in Cairo, even as questions swirl over the Trump administration's plans in Syria, Politico reports. According to people briefed on the original drafts speech, Pompeo is expected to say Obama “misled” the people of the Middle East about the “true source of terrorism” and will say Iran is the “real terrorist culprit.” The secretary will also reportedly claim Obama was wrong about what led to the rise of ISIS, and say Iran should learn from Saudi Arabia “about human rights and the rule of law.” Sources told Politico these assertions are a rebuke of Obama’s 2009 speech in the Middle East, calling for a “new beginning” in Muslim-majority countries after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The focus on Obama comes amid ongoing confusion and mixed messages from the Trump administration after the president announced a pullout from Syria, with Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton at times appearing to contradict Trump’s statements on U.S. plans in Syria. But Robert Palladino, State Department spokesman, told Politico that Pompeo would speak “on behalf of President Trump” during his week-long trip during the Middle East. “They talk often and the secretary is in lockstep with the president on the foreign policy priorities of the administration,” Palladino said.