In an interview in Jerusalem with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Mike Pompeo was asked whether the US president was a latter-day Queen Esther, a figure who appears on both Christian and Jewish stories as a person who halted an attempt to wipe out the Jewish people.
Mr Pompeo claimed that because of the president’s hardline stance against Iran, Mr Trump may indeed fit such a role.
“Could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace,” CBN’s interviewer asked Mr Pompeo.
“As a Christian I certainly believe that’s possible,” replied the US secretary of state. “It was remarkable. So we were down in the tunnels where we could see 3,000 years ago, and 2,000 years ago — if I have the history just right — to see the remarkable history of the faith in this place and the work that our administration's done to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state remains.”
He added: “I am confident that the Lord is at work here.”
The comments from Mr Pompeo were delivered as Mr Trump announced on Twitter that Washington will from now on recognise Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, overturning longstanding US policy towards the area, which was seized from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967.
In December 2017, the US president broke with decades of precedent to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the international community having long said the final status of the city was something that should be part of a comprehensive deal between Israel and the Palestinian authorities
Last May, Mr Trump again broke with international consensus to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and start reimposing sanctions on Tehran. While UN inspections had confirmed Iran was keeping its part of the agreement, Mr Trump always believed it was a "bad deal". At the same time, Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons.
On Friday, Mr Pompeo tweeted: “Our maximum pressure campaign on #Iran continues with today’s sanctions on targets involved in the regime’s nuclear program, including former nuclear weapons scientists. We’ll be relentless in denying Iran the ability to engage in WMD proliferation and all its outlaw activities.”
Also on Friday, the UN Human Rights Council criticised Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights
The UN rights forum adopted an annual resolution on the Syrian Golan, brought by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), with 26 states in favour, 16 against and 5 abstentions. European members including Britain voted against it.
“Voting for such a resolution should send a clear message...to the occupying power and to all who support Israel inside this Council and outside,” Syria's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Hussam Edin Aala, told the talks, Reuters said.
“The United States is justifying the practices by the Israeli occupation and ignoring Security Council resolutions. The occupied Syrian Golan was and shall remain Arab and Syrian.”