Former Trump administration Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the country had a “peaceful transition of power” on Jan. 6, 2021, and continued to push baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
During an interview, Sky News journalist Rigby pointed out that Pompeo’s new book barely mentions the Jan. 6 insurrection or former President Donald Trump’s efforts to undo the election.
“I was the secretary of state and the CIA director,” Pompeo said. “So the book is focused on how we delivered security abroad.”
He argued the country had a “peaceful transition of power” that day, despite the violence that took place. Pompeo blamed the violent turn of events on the building’s security officials.
“There was a bad day at the Capitol. The security team there failed to prevent these guys from rioting there,” he said, adding that those who committed acts of violence should be prosecuted.
“But make no mistake about it, that night America also showed its strength. Vice President [Mike] Pence finished the election. We had a peaceful transition of power,” he continued.
Pompeo also accused Rigby of taking his words “out of context” when she brought up a statement he made following Joe Biden’s win in November 2020, telling reporters: “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”
“I spoke decently about the United States of America,” he told Sky News. “We had had a tough election. We had things take place in that election which weren’t right.”
Pompeo’s 2020 comment came in response to a reporter’s question about whether the State Department was prepared to engage with Biden’s transition team and if failing to do so could risk U.S. national security.
He has since repeatedly suggested that voting irregularities took place in the election.
“We did not have a sufficiently transparent election,” he told Sky News. “And I don’t describe it as being stolen, but there were lots of anomalies in our election and we can’t have that in the United States.”
Pompeo’s claims do not stand up to scrutiny.
An Associated Press investigation published in December 2021 found less than 475 cases of potential electoral fraud, which would have not been enough to undo Biden’s win.
“The cases could not throw the outcome into question even if all the potentially fraudulent votes were for Biden, which they were not, and even if those ballots were actually counted, which in most cases they were not,” the report stated.
Pompeo, who is widely seen as a potential candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, said he expects Trump to face competition in his efforts to return to office.
“I’m confident that there will be many others and from both parties who will also believe they should be the next leader,” he said. “I have enormous confidence in the American people that they’ll sort it all out.”
Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and onetime U.S. ambassador to the U.N., is likely to become the first Republican to openly challenge Trump later this month.
Pompeo accused Haley of trying to oust Pence as vice president so she could take over the role on the 2020 ticket, in another excerpt from his book.
Haley has denied the incident.