Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s lack of a formal statement addressing global protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death reportedly has not sat well with diplomats.
According to a CNN report on Tuesday, State Department officials suggested that Pompeo address his workforce regarding the mounting unrest worldwide against racial inequality. Diplomats in the U.S. and abroad are growing increasingly concerned about Pompeo’s largely silent approach on the matter as they face questions about the protests happening in their foreign counterparts.
Although Pompeo called the actions of the cop who pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for almost 9 minutes “abhorrent” during an interview on Fox News more than a week ago, the secretary of state has yet to address his workforce about racial inequality or issue a statement sending support and empathy to the department.
“Pompeo has literally decided he is not touching it,” one US diplomat told CNN. “This is going to reflect on our image around the world. What Pompeo should be saying is we are a very flawed society, but we are trying to get better, we are resilient, we can do this, and I support my diplomats during this emotional time. We have heard none of that.”
CNN noted that diplomats have either received little or no guidance since protests have occurred outside of U.S. embassies.
A State Department official told CNN that Pompeo could still release a statement and that there is increasing pressure to do so more than two weeks after Floyd’s death.
According to CNN, a second U.S. diplomat called Pompeo’s silence “deafening” and a third argued that “not hearing from him makes this a very awkward time.”
“It would be really nice to hear from the secretary,” a fourth diplomat told CNN.
CNN reported that Pompeo’s lack of an address to his department is particularly heartbreaking for African American foreign service officers, citing three diplomats.
Two sources told CNN that a group of more than 100 black foreign service officers discussed the matter in a Zoom call over the weekend. One source told CNN that they agreed to move forward in advocating for racial diversity at the department without Pompeo’s support.