President Joe Biden criticized former President Donald Trump’s foreign policy during a Thursday speech at the U.S. State Department and declared under his administration “America is back.” Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded publicly also on Thursday, questioning whether Biden’s policies meant a return to a more lenient approach to China and Iran.
In an interview with Fox News Primetime host Trey Gowdy, Pompeo asked if Biden’s comments meant the U.S. is “back to when ISIS controlled a caliphate in Syria that was the size of Britain? I hope not. President Trump and our team took that down.”
Pompeo went on to say, “When he [Biden] says ‘back,’ when America is back, does he mean back to letting China walk all over us, destroying millions of jobs in places like Kansas and South Carolina, that we know so well? I hope that’s not what he means by back.”
Without specifically naming the Trump administration during his speech at the State Department, Biden criticized many of the U.S. foreign policy efforts in the last four years. In one portion of his speech, Biden said he is “rebuilding the muscles of democratic alliances that have atrophied from four years of neglect and, I would argue, abuse.”
Addressing Biden’s comments about allies, Pompeo said, “He talked about allies, when he said go back, does he mean back to dissing allies and friends like Israel and treating the terrorists in Iran like friends by giving them $150 billion in pallets of cash?”
Pompeo added, “When I was secretary of state, I shot straight, I told it like it was … and there were some cold receptions in Brussels and some of the salons of Europe, there’s no doubt about that. I’m proud of the work we did. We spoke the truth. What we did was deliver good outcomes. So ask [India] Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi. Ask [former Japan] Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe. Ask Prime Minister [Scott] Morrison in Australia. All of these leaders understood that America had their back.”
Pompeo has repeatedly expressed hopes that the Biden administration would continue aspects of Trump’s “America First” foreign policy approach. In the weeks after the election, Pompeo said, “I hope they’ll see the things that we have done and how this has delivered greater peace in the Middle East, how it’s reduced risk from North Korea, where we took down what was a very tense situation when we came into office, whether it’s the central recognition of the Chinese Communist Party as a true threat to jobs all across America. If they’ll keep those things at center-point and center mass, I think America’s trajectory will continue to be one that is safer, more prosperous, and more secure.”
Biden’s foreign policy shift after the Trump administration still appears to be taking shape. In his Senate confirmation hearing, Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he agreed with an assessment by Pompeo, that China is committing genocide against its Uyghur and Muslim minority populations, highlighting a point of agreement between the outgoing Trump and incoming Biden administrations. Still, during his confirmation hearing, Blinken criticized the “America First” approach, saying, “When we’re not engaged, when we aren’t leading, then one of two things will probably happen: Either some other country tries to take our place, but not in a way that advances our interests or values, or, maybe just as bad, no one does, and then you get chaos.”