As the impeachment inquiry keeps heating up, one prominent Trump administration official who’s a part of the mess is reported to be eyeing an exit from D.C. According to TIME Magazine, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been discussing possibly resigning sooner than he’d previously planned to leave the Trump team in a bid to avoid at least some of the fallout from impeachment and preserve some of his reputation for a Senate run he’s been considering in Kansas. It might already be too late — just this Wednesday, E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland further implicated Pompeo as “in the loop” about the Ukraine quid pro quo plot that’s sparked impeachment while discussing the situation with Congress.
The State Department has denied TIME‘s report, but considering the precedent of officials denying reports of their impending resignations and then leaving, that doesn’t mean he’s actually sticking around in D.C. much longer. The Republican sources say he’s hoping to get out when he can avoid as much scandal as possible.
‘Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told three prominent Republicans in recent weeks that he plans to resign from the Trump Administration to run for the U.S. Senate from Kansas in next year’s elections. The problem: how to get out in one piece… recent developments, including the House impeachment inquiry, are hurting him politically and straining his relationship with Trump.’
Some of those developments that could be damaging to a potential Pompeo Senate run don’t even concern impeachment and the underlying Ukraine plot. Kansas farmers are bearing much of the brunt of Trump’s still ongoing punitive trade war with China, which has included him hitting Chinese goods with massive import taxes that U.S. businesses doing the importing have to pay for and China retaliating with their own import taxes on U.S. goods, which have driven down sales.
One Kansas Republican officeholder told TIME:
‘Our farmers aren’t dumb. They know that China isn’t paying for tariffs. They are, because they’re taxpayers helping foot the bill for government subsidies. They also aren’t holding their breath waiting for some big trade deal that has the Chinese buying all their crops… If Pompeo was thinking he would cruise across the finish line on Trump’s coattails, he might want to rethink that assumption.’
In the meantime, Pompeo is already facing lots of heat. On the one hand, those concerned with the direction of the Trump administration are piling on the criticism as he continues to blindly implement the president’s agenda. He has failed to defend key diplomats who’ve ended up prominently testifying against Trump. After one of those diplomats — Marie Yovanovitch — was abruptly dismissed from her role as Ambassador to Ukraine because Trump baselessly believed she was conspiring against him, Pompeo declined to offer any support for her or, by extension, the anti-corruption program she had been pursuing.
Trump, meanwhile, has complained that Pompeo supposedly isn’t defending the president’s own interests well enough. If Pompeo is worried about the possible effects on his public image of working with Trump for much longer — he should have thought of that a long time ago.