American Consequences - August 2019


LATIN AMERICAN TRAVELS and an exclusive chat with SECRETARY OF STATE POMPEO Y ou may find yourself spoiled for normal airline travel if you ever get to hitch a ride with the chief diplomat of the United States government. No more

newsrooms on the coasts, and generally take a dim view of Republican administrations. No surprises there. Then there are the camera guys, who from the moment the plane wheels hit the tarmac, are on constant standby to sprint to the next location to set up for a shot. It is frenzied and often fruitless work. Those guys work hard for their money. The Secretary of State’s schedule is rigid, and the time spent in the sky feels relentless. I asked some of the veterans of his staff and the press pool if this was standard, and they confirmed it. Government travel at this level means you get to see a lot of countries, but never experience them. You might stop in Paris on your way back from Kiev, but you’ll be lucky if you have time to get a croissant

ticket counter hassles, no TSA pat downs. You are suddenly part of Uncle Sam’s overseas diplomacy entourage. The only better way to fly is Air Force One (or so I’m told). I was fortunate enough to have this experience recently, and now I get to tell you, my dear reader, about the most interesting parts. Pompeo’s senior staff brought me along in July as a special media guest, added on to the usual gaggle of reporters present (“the pool”) to document, photograph, and memorialize every incident on the trip. The pool reporters tend to be from the large but declining


August 2019

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