Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday criticized members of the incoming Joe Biden administration on foreign policy as detached from reality and bound to repeat the mistakes of the Obama administration.
Biden has nominated several former Obama administration officials to top posts, including Antony Blinken for Secretary of State, Jake Sullivan for national-security adviser, and Linda Thomas-Greenfield for U.N. ambassador.
“I know some of these folks, they took a very different view, they lived in a bit of a fantasy world,” Pompeo said Tuesday on Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier. “They led from behind, they appeased. I hope they will choose a different course.”
Pompeo specifically criticized the Obama administration’s pursuit of the Iran nuclear deal, which provided cash and relief from sanctions to a struggling a regime in exchange for a delay in its uranium enrichment program, saying it “had chosen to give them an awful lot of that thing, money. We’ve chosen to deny them.”
The Trump administration withdrew from the agreement in 2018 as one of its signature foreign policy moves, reimposing crippling economic sanctions and escalating tensions with the regime.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani greeted Biden’s election as an opportunity for the U.S. to “compensate for past mistakes” by rejoining the agreement.
“Now, an opportunity has come up for the next U.S. administration to compensate for past mistakes and return to the path of complying with international agreements through respect of international norms,” the state-run IRNA news agency quoted Rouhani as saying.
Other Republicans have already criticized Biden’s picks.
“What a group of corporatists and war enthusiasts—and Big Tech sellouts,” Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) wrote on Twitter of Biden’s foreign policy team. “Take Tony Blinken. He’s backed every endless war since the Iraq invasion. Now he works for Big Tech and helps companies break into China.”
Blinken cofounded WestExec Advisors, a Washington, D.C., based consulting firm that helps tech companies navigate the federal government and public sector.
“We help U.S. companies that are working overseas deal with external risks that might affect their business, and we help tech firms who are trying to figure out how to sell in the public sector space, to navigate the DOD, the intel community, law enforcement,” WestExec’s other founder Michele Flournoy, who is in consideration for secretary defense, told The Intercept in 2018.