Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned his predecessor John Kerry in an interview late Wednesday for conducting private meetings with Iranian officials, claiming the former Obama administration official “can’t seem to get off the stage.”
Kerry has admitted to meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on multiple occasions since leaving his top State Department post. President Trump and some Republican lawmakers have accused Kerry of conducting “shadow diplomacy” and working against current U.S. foreign policy interests.
“Secretary Kerry can’t seem to get off the stage, and you have to,” Pompeo told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. “When I’m the former secretary, I’ll get off. Every previous former secretary has done that, too.”
Pompeo’s comments come days after he accused Kerry of “actively undermining” the Trump administration’s policy toward Iran, after Kerry hinted last week that he advised the country to wait out Trump’s presidency before totally abandoning the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the former secretary of state.
“I think everybody in the world is talking about waiting out President Trump,” Kerry told Fox News earlier Wednesday, adding that when he met with the Iranians “the policies of the United States was still to be in the Iran deal because the president had not decided and not pulled out.”
Trump withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear accord in May, causing the premier achievement of the Obama administration to unravel after he claimed Iran failed to comply with the terms of the deal.
Pompeo also responded to calls by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., for the Justice Department to investigate Kerry’s meetings with Iran. The chief U.S. diplomat said he plans to “leave the legal action to others.”
“They are not only unhelpful, but they are acting in ways that are harmful to achieving what’s best for the American people,” he said of Kerry and other Obama administration officials. “That’s my criticism. Stop it. Let it go. You’ve had your day.”