US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Cancels Trip to Europe
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cancelled his Europe trip at the last minute on Tuesday after Luxembourg's foreign minister and top European Union officials declined to meet with him, European and U.S. diplomats familiar with the matter said.
The extraordinary snub of the top U.S. diplomat, first reported by Reuters, came days after the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, an unprecedented attack on American democracy that stunned many world leaders and U.S. allies.
Pompeo, a close ally of Trump, had sought to meet Jean Asselborn in Luxembourg, a small but wealthy NATO ally, before meeting EU leaders and the bloc's top diplomat in Brussels, three people close to the planning told Reuters.
But the initial plan to go to Luxembourg, which had not been officially announced, was scrapped after officials there showed reluctance to grant Pompeo appointments, a diplomatic source said. The Brussels leg was still on until the last minute.
But the thin itinerary of Pompeo's final visit to Brussels raised questions about the merit of the trip. There were no meetings on his schedule with EU officials or any public events at NATO. A third diplomatic source said allies were "embarrassed" by Pompeo after the violence in Washington last Wednesday that left five dead.
Trump encouraged his supporters at a rally earlier that day to march on the building that houses the Senate and the House of Representatives while lawmakers were certifying Democratic President-elect Joe Biden's Nov. 3 election victory. The Republican president claims, without evidence, that the election was stolen from him./ Reuters