U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, speaks at a news conference while U.S. President Donald Trump looks on following his second summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on February 28, 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
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WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo abruptly canceled a trip to Europe during his final week in office as the nation’s top diplomat.
The cancellation came after several European officials refused to meet with Pompeo, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The snub from European officials comes one week after thousands of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, sending shockwaves around the world.
Pompeo, in his last diplomatic mission, was slated to travel to Belgium on Wednesday to meet with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes. Stoltenberg and Wilmes publicly described the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol as “shocking.” Other world leaders also condemned the riot in unusually stark terms.
The trip later this week also reportedly included a stop in Luxembourg, according to Reuters.
The State Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement Tuesday that the decision to cancel the trip was made so that Pompeo could continue working with President-elect Joe Biden’s team on the transition.
“We are fully committed to the completion of a smooth and orderly transition process to be finalized over the next 8 days. Both the Department and the President-elect’s team have been fully engaged for several weeks toward this end, and we are pleased with the level of cooperation and professionalism that has been displayed,” Ortagus wrote.
Antony Blinken, Biden’s pick to lead the State department, is expected to provide Pompeo’s team with a list of career officials who will temporarily remain in acting positions until the Senate confirmation process is complete.
Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken speaks after being introduced by President-elect Joe Biden as he introduces key foreign policy and national security nominees and appointments at the Queen Theatre on November 24, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.
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Last week, Pompeo confirmed in a tweet that he met with Blinken and called the meeting “very productive.”
It was not immediately clear if the two discussed the deadly riot at the Capitol, which occurred just two days prior.