The secretary of state is ignoring his own department's guidance so he can host lavish holiday parties.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has invited hundreds of guests to series of indoor holiday parties over the next three weeks, the Washington Post reported, ignoring public health experts' pleas to cease indoor gatherings as the coronavirus surges across the entire United States.
Pompeo is holding these indoor events — where the virus can quickly spread — even as the State Department he leads told employees that "any non-mission critical events" should be "virtual events as opposed to in-person gatherings," according to the Washington Post.
One of the planned holiday parties has a 900-person guest list, according to the report. Even if just a fraction of those invited attend, that would mark a massive indoor gathering that public health officials have been pleading with Americans not to hold.
The news came the same day CNN reported that the Trump administration's own coronavirus task force issued a dire warning to states about the uncontrollable spread of the virus thanks to Thanksgiving travel and gatherings.
It also broke the same day the United States set a grim record for coronavirus deaths in a single day, with 2,885 people dying from the virus on Wednesday, according to data from the New York Times. That's more than the 2,752 deaths on April 15, which to date had been the deadliest day of the virus, according to the New York Times.
Pompeo joins the White House in holding holiday parties, adding to the potential that the Trump administration will hold more superspreader events before their tenure ends on Jan. 20, when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.
Pompeo has been keen on using taxpayer funds to host lavish parties at the State Department — even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
His so-called "Madison dinners" — lavish affairs in which Pompeo invites influential Republicans and right-wing media personalities who could help further his political ambitions — have raised ethics questions.
The coronavirus had stopped the events in March, but Pompeo restarted them again in September, according to NBC News.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.