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Did Pompeo Give Branstad the Boot?

Sept. 14, 2020 (EIRNS)—U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad announced today that he was leaving his post “in early October.” The embassy statement indicates that he had informed President Donald Trump of his decision last week. The Chinese Foreign Ministry, however, first learned of his decision through a tweet from Mike Pompeo issued at 12:47 a.m. this morning on the day Branstad announced his resignation, in which Pompeo stated, “I thank Ambassador Terry Branstad for his more than three years of service to the American people as U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.”

The resignation follows a major incident earlier this month, in which Branstad (perhaps under pressure from Pompeo) had to write a letter to People’s Daily that listed all U.S. gripes with China, including the bogus arguments used to bolster the gripes. Aside from the fact that expressing such U.S. concerns, whatever they may be, would generally be done in private conversations by the ambassador, not in the media, it was also out of character for Ambassador Branstad, who generally exhibited a favorable attitude toward China. In fact, the U.S. Embassy contacted People’s Daily on Aug. 26 and demanded that Branstad’s op-ed be published by Sept. 4 and in full, an outrageous ultimatum which bore no fruit. No reason was given for Branstad’s resignation in the statement issued by the Embassy.

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