Newly released government emails reveal Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s wife enlisting agency officials to assist in filling out ‘personal cards’ for Christmas.
The request adds to other publicly known allegations that Pompeo relied on a longtime aide at state to walk the family dog and perform other errands.
‘I see that you are out of the office all next week,” Susan Pompeo wrote Toni Porter, a longtime aide to Pompeo, on December 19th, with Christmas right around the corner.
Susan Pompeo (r), the wife of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, wrote a top State Department advisor seeking help with ‘personal’ Christmas cards
‘Do you know, is Joe also out? I’m wondering if we are sending the last of our personal cards out, who will be there to help me. Mike will not want to go outside you and Joe for this assistance,’ she wrote.
She sent the email from her personal account.
Porter is a Pompeo advisor who has worked for him for years and followed him from Kansas. She has been identified as the aide whose alleged dog-walking for Pompeo was at the center of an inspector general’s probe.
The vacationing Porter forwarded the email to another aide: Lisa Kenna, who serves executive secretary at the State Department. Kenna’s response indicated some trepidation about the task.
‘I’d worry about asking others for personal things,” Kenna wrote. The House Foreign Affairs Committee published interview transcripts with Kenna and Porter on Friday, and McClatchy obtained copies of emails about the Christmas card work.
Porter told the committee the task made her ‘uncomfortable.’
Asked why, she responded: ‘Because I was at the State Department.’
She said she didn’t contact ethics officials because, ‘It was a real-time sort of activity and there was not time to contact the ethics attorney.’
Asked if she ever saw the Pompeo’s socially, Porter responded: ‘There are times that we might have, you know, just quick little get-togethers. For example, at Christmas I have been at their home for a small gift exchange that included cookies and other baked goods.’
During questioning a Republican staff lawyer apologized for ‘sexist attacks’ against Porter.
‘I wanted to apologize. I made an omission earlier. I was talking about this investigation and how it’s all unfolded what I perceive to be sort of sexist attacks against you and Ms. Kenna, dragging you up here, threatening you with subpoenas, and dragging your name through the mud publicly,’ the lawyer said.
The lawyer said of Susan Pompeo: ‘And the omission I made was leaving out Mrs. Pompeo, and that’s what’s happening here. She’s a strong woman who’s supportive of her husband’s career. She is a real asset to the Department.’