Folks worried that Donald Trump might not cede the presidency after his loss to challenger Joe Biden were not made any calmer by statements from Mike Pompeo on Tuesday. The Secretary of State promised a 'smooth transition' to a second Trump term in a press conference.
“There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, one week after Trump lost the election to President-Elect Joe Biden pic.twitter.com/G8JwYWZN1I
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 10, 2020
While Pompeo's smirk after the remark might indicate he was joking, it did little to allay the concerns of people already on high-alert as Trump pursues ways to flip the outcome of the election.
Mike Pompeo either is crazy or is bad at sarcasm. Can’t quite tell.
— Sam Stein (@samstein) November 10, 2020
When the feed starts to transition to "Pompeo was joking" pic.twitter.com/cBBoH4JTyp
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) November 10, 2020
Asked if @StateDept is going to be engaging with the Biden transition team, Pompeo responds: “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”
This is incredibly reckless, dangerous, and damaging to US security. https://t.co/0zdxUbcIOj
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) November 10, 2020
Jokes aren't just things that make you laugh, they're stories. The story Pompeo told in that single sentence was "I enjoy seeing this anxiety about the future of the country — it's funny to me, who holds the power."
— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) November 10, 2020
Monumentally stupid and destructive words from Pompeo. Joe Biden won the election and will be the next president of the United States. The whole world knows it. Don’t ever forget Pompeo did this. https://t.co/WGSuGkjir6
— Mark Follman (@markfollman) November 10, 2020
“It was a joke” has been the refuge for people explaining away a lot of the president’s statements including pardons for administration officials if they violated the law. Pompeo comment needs to be seen in that context. https://t.co/0nLcQBZWHq
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 10, 2020
Biden won the popular vote. Biden won the electoral college. Every vote was counted. No illegitimate votes were counted. Sure, recount the close ones if you want. But what Pompeo is implying here is a coup. A fascist coup. https://t.co/rN0kDhA2I3
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) November 10, 2020
Reminder that making a corrupt, belligerent ass like @SecPompeo Secretary of State is a bad idea.
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) November 10, 2020
As a Latin American, I never thought I'd see the US State Dept backing a coup in the US! https://t.co/qQ1fbRuhpK
— Elías López (@elopezgross) November 10, 2020
Pompeo's joke comes as the president largely continues to insinuate that vote counts were illegitimate, improperly carried out or rife with fraud. He tweeted out that ballot workers should stop tallying votes in states where he was ahead and has filed a raft of lawsuits hoping to swing the election back his way with the help of a stacked conservative judiciary. Many of these were tossed almost immediately. It's unclear if the Trump administration is seeking other ways to tie up election results ahead of the meeting of the electoral college and a seemingly inevitable win for Biden. Host Lawrence O'Donnell had a theory that Pompeo was auditioning for a larger role on the far side of Biden's presidency.
As I said months ago, Mike Pompeo is running for president in 2024.
Every word he says is based on the dream or winning Trump voters.
— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) November 10, 2020