National Security

Pompeo on John Kerry’s Meetings With Iranian Officials: He ‘Can’t Seem to Get off the Stage’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sharply criticized the conduct of his predecessor, John Kerry, telling Fox News’s Laura Ingraham on Wednesday that he "can’t seem to get off the stage."

"It’s one thing to meet with your counterpart. It’s another thing to do what Secretary Kerry, Wendy Sherman, Ernest Moniz, frankly the whole gang has done, which is to actively seek to undermine what President Trump is trying to achieve," Pompeo said during an interview on "The Ingraham Angle."

"It’s okay to talk with them, but you have to be working for America, working for American foreign policy, and they’re not. They’re working for the foreign policy that is theirs, not the one that belongs to the United States," the secretary of state continued.

Since President Barack Obama left office, Kerry has met privately with Iranian officials in an effort to salvage the Iran nuclear deal. He discussed his interactions with Iran while promoting his new book, Every Day is Extra, last week, acknowledging he met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif "three or four times" in recent months, without consulting the Trump administration.

Kerry said he has conducted sensitive diplomacy on his own with Iran, discussing the nuclear deal, from which President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. earlier this year. He told radio host Hugh Hewitt that he has criticized the Trump administration in these discussions for not pursuing negotiations with Iran.

During an appearance on Fox News last Wednesday, Kerry did not deny the suggestion he told Iranian officials to "wait out" the Trump administration.

"I think everybody in the world is talking about waiting out President Trump," Kerry said.

Trump blasted Kerry in a tweet, calling the meetings "illegal."

Pompeo chastised Kerry during a press conference last week, calling his actions "unseemly and unprecedented." He said he saw Kerry at the Munich Security Conference earlier this year and suggested the former secretary of state, along with Wendy Sherman and Ernest Moniz, met with Iranian officials while there.

Ernest Moniz served as secretary of energy under Obama, and Wendy Sherman, a former State Department official, was the lead U.S. negotiator during nuclear negotiations with Iran.

"I wasn't in the meeting, but I am reasonably confident that he was not there in support of U.S. policy with respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran," Pompeo said.

Kerry has defended his meetings with Iranian officials. "Every secretary of state, former secretary of state, continues to meet with foreign leaders, goes to security conferences, goes around the world. We all do that. And we all have conversations [about] the state of affairs with the world in order to understand them," he said.

Pompeo told Ingraham that Kerry is negatively impacting U.S. foreign policy. "I’m trying to execute America’s foreign policy," he said, "and they are not only unhelpful, but they are acting in ways that are harmful to achieving what’s best for the American people. And that’s my criticism."

"Stop it. Let it go. You had your day," Pompeo said, directing his message toward former Obama administration officials. "We think you fundamentally got it wrong with Iran, and we’re trying to make it right for America."