On May 21, the Leavenworth Times published an opinion piece by USA Today columnist Jack Gruber. Gruber attacked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and wife Susan for hosting a series of dinners known as the Madison Dinners.
Gruber seems to be somewhat on the immature side in that he uses the childish words “Oh dear” several times in attempts to patronize Pompeo and then mocks him for having a harpist for entertainment. How dare the secretary of state have a harpist play for dinner guests. He must be removed from office.
Naturally, Gruber cites anonymous sources who express concern about the dinners. Anonymity seems to be the seed corn for promoting hit jobs. Sure, there could be legitimate sources, but there also could be someone who disagrees with U.S. foreign policy, or some snowflake who feels slighted when a recommendation is rejected, or someone who does not like the Pompeos.
The attack from Business Insider is rife with the word “allegedly.” “Allegedly” he used taxpayer money for these “elaborate, unpublicized affairs.” Again, anonymous sources claim that some “raised concerns that the events (were used) to cultivate a donor and supporter base for Pompeo’s political ambitions.” The British news outlet Independent described such charges as “speculation.” The dinners, USA Today suggests, “may go beyond foreign-relations building” and venture into helping Pompeo’s political ambitions.”
Included in the “speculation” is that Pompeo may run for president in 2024. No evidence. Just speculation.
Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez is demanding “a complete accounting” of funds involving the dinners. That is really rich. Menendez in 2015 was indicted on federal corruption charges that included illegal campaign contributions. Yet this paragon of virtue has the gall to demand “a complete accounting.”
The State Department response to the charges is that the dinners “are a world-class opportunity to discuss the mission of the State Department and the complex foreign policy matters facing our exceptional nation.”
Business Insider decries that 29% of the invitees are business people and only 14% are diplomats or foreign officials and only 30% work in politics or government, many of whom are Republicans. Does Business Insider not understand that businessmen have a role in developing foreign policy? Those three percentages encompass 73% of the attendees.
I guess that having dinner with individuals from different walks of life with different perspectives and different concerns must be a threat to national security.
What the Pompeo attackers cannot abide is that 27% of the attendees are from the media, academia and a few celebrities. NBC is upset that only favorable media are invited. Would you invite to dinner someone who hates your guts and your policies?
The Kansas City Star editorial board labels the events “one bold hustle,” a “gross exploitation of both the public trust and the public purse” and “neo-royalist.” I wonder whether that would be their opinion had they been invited to a Madison Dinner.
Without naming names, the editorial board asserts that Pompeo is “loathed” inside the State Department. Really? Prove it. How many of those who loathe him do so because they are no longer working for Hillary Clinton? How many cannot abide the foreign policies of President Trump, thus transferring their hatred for Trump to Secretary Pompeo?
This language used by the editorial board certainly paints a clear picture of the Star’s bias.
I cannot address Susan Pompeo’s role in the dinners because I do not know the protocol requirements for such events. The attacker’s tone is that something is rotten. If so, then the media should state clearly the violations rather than throw mud at her and make snide remarks.
Democrats are now ramping up for another investigation.
The coins of the realm for those who despise Trump and anyone associated with him are allegation, anonymity, speculation and concern. Facts are irrelevant. Republicans must be destroyed.
Rich Kiper is a Leavenworth Times columnist.