WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday dismissed as "bizarre" and "outrageous" a Democratic senator's question about whether President Trump's business interests could be his foreign policy.
In an exchange before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Pompeo grew testy when Senator Tom Udall, Democrat of New Mexico, asked Mr. Trump's finances might impact his foreign policy.
It was the second time that the new Chief Diplomat displayed a flash of anger during congressional testimony.
" Given that the president refuses to disclose his tax returns, how do you assure the American people? Udall asked.
Mr. Pompeo first dismissed the question as "bizarre" and then […]
"I have been incredibly involved in this administration for some 1
At a hearing on Wednesday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. So Pompeo got into a testy exchange with a top Democrat. That time, he was defending his blistering criticism of Hillary Clinton in 2015 when he was a conservative congressman from Kansas.
The question from Mr. Udall was pointed, but it was hardly the first time potential conflicts of interest have been raised between Mr. Trump's overseas businesses and his foreign policy.
Recently, the Trump Organization's partner in an Indonesian development project struck a deal with a Chinese state-owned company. Around the same time, Mr Trump reversed his sentence on ZTE, a Chinese telecommunications company, saying he had directed the Commerce Department to resolve the issue to save Chinese jobs.
There is no indication that Mr. Trump or
But critics have long pointed out that Mr. Trump Organization helped to arrange the Chinese Role in the Indonesian Project, and no evidence has emerged that the president's reversal on ZTE has anything to do with the Chinese investment. Trump's decision to retain his business in the White House makes such questions inevitable.
Mr. Pompeo's reactions to questions about the delicate balance many of Mr. Trump's aides must strike in his defense. Mr. Trump often makes demonstrably false claims that even his press secretary refuses to address.
Mr. Pompeo's sometimes brash and usually direct style endeared him to Mr. Trump, which is why he was chosen to jump from being C.I.A.
The flashes of temper are generally frowned upon during congressional hearings, where an old-style sense of decorum still pervades even amid partisan acrimony.
The hearings Wednesday and Thursday were originally intended as discussions of The Trump administration's budget requests for the State Department.
In his opening remarks, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Foreign Instead, Mr. Pompeo has spent much of his time explaining why Mr. Trump Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
One problem, Mr. Pompeo said, that North Korea refused to talk to the team. 19659019]