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Pompeo speech in Georgia this week ahead of Senate runoffs raises eyebrows

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Georgia on Wednesday to speak out on efforts by President Trump’s administration to combat threats from China.

Pompeo “will deliver remarks on the China challenge to the U.S. national security and academic freedom” at Georgia Tech University, according to the school and the State Department.

Although it’s normal for secretaries of state to speak to domestic audiences, the address by Pompeo comes as the nation’s campaign spotlight is shining on Georgia, which his holding twin Senate runoff elections on Jan. 5, which will determine if the Republican Party holds onto its majority in the chamber or if the Democrats control both houses of Congress and the White House.


And it comes as Pompeo, who political pundits consider a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, has faced criticism this year for giving speeches considered to be tinged with political overtones, including delivering an address during August’s Republican National Convention that he recorded during an official diplomatic trip to Israel.

After the speech, House Democrats called for an investigation into whether Pompeo violated the Hatch Act, which bars federal appointees from engaging in politically partisan activities.

Over the past year and a half, the secretary of state has also spoken at The Villages, a must stop in Florida for GOP politicians, and at religious gatherings in Texas and Iowa.

Pompeo’s visit comes after President Trump on Saturday held a large rally with Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, the two Republican candidates in the Georgia runoff elections. A day ahead of the president’s trip, Vice President Mike Pence made his second visit to Georgia on behalf of the GOP senators.


Other potential 2024 Republican White House hopefuls who’ve campaigned in Georgia the past month include Sens. Tom Cotton, of Arkansas, and Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, of Florida.

Asked what’s next for him after he steps down as secretary of state next month as the Trump administration comes to an end, Pompeo said two weeks ago in an interview with Fox News’ Brett Baier on “Special Report” that “we’ll keep doing this until we’re tapped on the shoulder and told it’s no longer time to be the Secretary of State, and then Susan and I will figure that out.”

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