Pompeo meets Biden nominee Blinken for 'orderly transition'

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has finally met with his nominated successor Antony Blinken, seen here as President-elect Joe Biden nominated him on November 24, 2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Friday for the first time with President-elect Joe Biden's nominee to be his successor, Antony Blinken, promising a smooth transition.

Pompeo -- a stalwart defender of President Donald Trump, who begrudgingly acknowledged defeat Thursday -- met Blinken "in order to facilitate an orderly transition and to ensure American interests are protected abroad," a State Department official said.

"Their meeting was very productive. Secretary Pompeo and Secretary-nominee Blinken, as well as their teams, will continue to work together on behalf of America throughout the transition," the official said.

While Biden's team has already had contact with the State Department, the process had earlier been limited with Pompeo saying after the election, "The United States has one secretary of state at a time."

Pompeo stunned many observers in the wake of Trump's defeat when, asked by a reporter whether he would cooperate with Biden's team, promised "a smooth transition to a second Trump administration."

Trump acknowledged reality only after coming under intense criticism, with his social media accounts suspended, for egging on a mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday as lawmakers were ceremonially certifying Biden's win. Five people died.

Trump has not indicated any willingness to meet Biden, as is customary in presidential transitions, and is set to become the first outgoing president in 152 years not to join his successor at an inauguration ceremony.

Blinken is a mild-mannered long-time advisor to Biden who is expected to shift course on a number of key causes of Pompeo, including his hawkish lines against Iran and Cuba and disdain toward multilateral institutions.

Blinken, who served as deputy secretary of state during Barack Obama's presidency, visited the State Department last month but Pompeo was in quarantine at the time after exposure to Covid-19.

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