19:42 GMT04 April 2020
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    The decision by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to give former Wall Street Journal editorial writer Mary Kissel a senior position at the department, despite her previous clashes with US President Donald Trump, shows that neoconservatives are moving in on the administration, investigative reporter Dave Lindorff told Sputnik.

    As a writer, Kissel took Trump to task on Twitter on multiple occasions, criticizing him for his "frightening ignorance" on foreign policy. During a March 2016 appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Kissel even went as far as saying on air that then-candidate Trump had neither principles nor policies. To this, Trump shot back on Twitter, calling her a "major loser."

    An unidentified senior State Department official told Politico that Kissel's past remarks were more of a reflection of her "role as a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board."

    "As she has said previously when asked similar questions, her job there was to analyze and write about policy," the department official said. "As a member of the editorial board, Mary strongly endorsed this administration's policies on Iran, Afghanistan, tax cuts, energy policy, regulatory reform, judicial nominations and other issues. She is proud to serve this President and Secretary Pompeo."

    "The only thing that I can think of is that nobody takes Trump seriously in the White House on what he says from day to day," Lindorff told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Wednesday in an attempt to explain Kissel's hiring.

    "That could be one answer… the other one could be that this kind of neocon person, which she is, are basically taking over the White House. I wouldn't have called Trump a neocon when he was running for office, but I think his policies are at this point pretty much in the neocon playbook on foreign policy."

    While it's unclear how Trump reacted to Pompeo's move, Lindorff, who also writes as a columnist for CounterPunch, suggested that he might have let bygones be bygones after certain apologies are exchanged.

    Kissel's recent appointment, to no one's surprise, isn't exactly sitting well with the folks on the more conservative side of the political spectrum. In a recent opinion piece for the Washington Examiner, writer Ryan Girdusky wrote that "Kissel is so wrong so frequently that not only should she not be advising Pompeo on policy, she shouldn't be employed by a single newspaper in the country to talk about politics."

    "It is frightening that Kissel has managed to fail forward," he added.

    Kissel, however, isn't the first Trump opponent to be hired by Pompeo.

    There's also Jim Jeffrey, who, along with several other GOP insiders, signed a letter in August 2016 which noted that then-candidate Trump "lacks the character, values and experience" to be president. Despite his past objections, Jeffrey is now serving in the Trump administration as the special representative for Syria engagement.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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