U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Israel on Wednesday where he sported a red, white, and blue facemask while maintaining precautionary measures against coronavirus.
“Secretary Pompeo and Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed our nations’ ongoing efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic and counter Iran’s destabilizing influence in the region, as well as the steadfast U.S. commitment to Israel’s security,” said a U.S. State Department statement.
Pompeo was seen wearing the red, white, and blue facemask when departing his plane.
A video also showed him departing the plane while wearing the mask.
He later removed the mask when he spoke alongside Netanyahu for a press conference ahead of their meeting, where everyone in attendance appeared to be at least six feet apart.
“The campaign that we have been part of to reduce the resources that the [Iranian] ayatollah has to inflict harm here in Israel and all across the world has borne fruit, it has been successful, and we’re going to stay at it,” Pompeo said at the press conference.
“Even during this pandemic the Iranians using the ayatollahs’, the regime’s resources to foment terror across the world even when the people of Iran are struggling so mightily tells you a lot about the soul of those people who lead that country,” he added.
Regarding coronavirus efforts, Pompeo took a subtle jab at China when he told Netanyahu, “You’re a great partner. You share information, unlike some other countries that try and obfuscate and hide that information, and we’ll talk about that country, too, some.”
Pompeo also met with Netanyahu’s coalition partner and speaker of the Knesset, Benny Gantz. Pompeo and Gantz also discussed virus mitigation efforts and Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region.
On March 26, Gantz had agreed to form a national unity government with Netanyahu after each failed to individually form a government following several elections.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was not in attendance due to self-quarantining over “mild upper respiratory symptoms,” the U.S. Embassy in Israel said. A State Department spokesperson later aid Friedman tested negative for coronavirus, Reuters reported.
The visit also recognized the 72nd anniversary of President Truman’s recognition of Israel on May 14, as well as the two year anniversary of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.