NEW DELHI: Foreign minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday slammed former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo for his remarks on Sushma Swaraj describing her as a “goofball” and a “heartland political hack”, saying he deplored the disrespectful colloquialism used for her.
“I have seen a passage in Secretary Pompeo’s book referring to Smt Sushma Swaraj-ji. I always held her in great esteem and had an exceptionally close and warm relationship with her. I deplore the disrespectful colloquialism used for her,” said Jaishankar.
In his just-released book ‘Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love’, Pompeo has said his original counterpart (Swaraj) was not an important player on the Indian foreign policy team. “Instead, I worked much more closely with NSA Ajit Doval, a close and trusted confidant of PM Narendra Modi,” he says in the book.
In May 2019, Pompeo further says, the US welcomed “J” as India’s new foreign minister. “I could not have asked for a better counterpart. I love this guy. English is one of the seven languages he speaks, and his is somewhat better than mine,” writes Pompeo. “We hit it off immediately. In our first meeting, I was bemoaning, in very diplomatic speech, that his predecessor had not been particularly helpful,” he adds.
Pompeo goes on to claim that Jaishankar told him he could see why former US Secretary had trouble with his predecessor, “a goofball and a heartland political hack.”
“Careful, I’m a heartland political hack!” I replied in jest. He laughed, noting that if that were true, it would make me the first heartland political hack who had ever been an editor on the Harvard Law Review. Well played, J,” Pompeo writes.
Considered close to then US president Donald Trump, Pompeo was the CIA director from 2017 to 2018 and served as the secretary of state from 2018 to 2021. Swaraj served as external affairs minister in the first Modi government from May 2014 to May 2019. She died in August 2019.





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