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Unscrupulous and aggressive, Pompeo plans to be the next Trump – but smarter

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While all eyes are on Donald Trump and his Capitol Hill mob, a would-be heir and successor is running riot all by himself, storming citadels, wagging the flag and breaking china. No, it’s not Donald Jr, or Ivanka, or Ted Cruz, and certainly not poor, conflicted Mike Pence.

Mike Pompeo may not strike many people as presidential material. But Trump lowered the bar. Make no mistake. America’s snarly, bully-boy secretary of state is focusing not on Joe Biden’s inauguration this week but on how to beat him or any other Democrat in 2024.

Pompeo, the man who would be king, is playing political hunger games – and, looking ahead, he aims to win.

In a display of extraordinary chutzpah, Pompeo has spent the time since Trump lost the election setting booby traps and laying diplomatic minefields in global conflict zones. Partly he aims to secure his own and Trump’s “legacy”. Partly it’s to screw Biden. But mostly it’s about winning the White House.

Pompeo has upended established policies, adopted ultra-hardline positions, and claimed imaginary successes to advance his personal standing with the Trump rump. In fact, he’s trying to out-Trump Trump. Like him, he’s unscrupulous and aggressive, but here’s the difference: he’s not stupid.

That potentially makes the former Kansas Tea party congressman and CIA chief more dangerous to the Biden presidency, and the progressive cause, than a disgraced Trump may ever be. He showed his political savvy by steering clear of the impeachment fracas. Instead, Pompeo is busy setting future agendas.

Speaking in Washington last Tuesday, for example, he declared – without new evidence but drawing from a dust-heap of recycled,........

© The Guardian

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