A senior Jewish representative in Washington, DC, has described the contempt with which Donald Trump’s administration holds the US Congress as “shocking”.
Rori Kramer, the former deputy assistant secretary of state in the bureau of legislative affairs who is now director of US advocacy at the American Jewish World Service, was speaking after Democrats said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had misused state funds to make a party political address from Jerusalem.
Pompeo, who has made a habit of offending US allies, is refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas for documents connected to the Ukraine scandal that led to Trump’s impeachment.
“It’s really shocking,” said Kramer. “Four years ago it would have been completely bizarro Twilight Zone that Congress could subpoena you and hold you in contempt, and the answer of the administration would be ‘I don’t care’. It’s a race to the bottom.”
Last week Pompeo took part in the Republican national convention with a filmed address from Jerusalem while on a visit as secretary of state. Lawyers say this violated the Hatch Act prohibiting public funds from being used for electoral purposes.
His refusal is the latest two-fingered salute from Pompeo, who in May fired the inspector investigating his use of departmental resources for personal errands. He also declared an “emergency” to bypass a congressional block on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with whom Israel is now normalising relations.