Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race Tuesday, instead saying that there "will be a smooth transition" to another term of President Donald Trump’s administration.
His remarks come amid widespread speculation about Pompeo’s political future, including a potential bid for the White House or a return home to Kansas to run for governor in 2022.
Pompeo appeared to echo the rhetoric of other Republican lawmakers by saying that "we’re going to count all the votes."
"There's a process, the Constitution lays it out pretty clearly," Pompeo told reporters. "The world should have every confidence that the transition necessary to make sure that the State Department is functional today, successful today, and successful with the president who's in office on Jan. 20, a minute after noon, will also be successful."
Trump hasn’t conceded the election and has continued to claim, without evidence, that he will be victorious once allegations of voter fraud are confronted.
Pompeo’s remarks did potentially signal his own future political ambitions, said Burdett Loomis, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Kansas.
But Loomis said that would likely involve a presidential run, which reportedly interests Pompeo.
"You interpret it as him going down the path of bowing down to Trump and, by interpretation, Trump supporters," he said.
But that didn’t mean that it would pay dividends for Pompeo, Loomis said, especially in the last two months in his current role as secretary of state.
"I don’t know that it helps him in any way — what do foreign leaders think?" he said.
Heads of state from France, the United Kingdom and Germany all held customary phone calls with Biden on Tuesday, and scores of other world leaders have also offered congratulations.
No Kansas Republican in Congress has publicly congratulated Biden, however.
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran said in a statement last week that officials "must make certain" every vote is counted "correctly" but didn’t weigh in on whether Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud had merit.
The two-term senator did say he was confident that the final results would be determined properly.
"Our democracy is based on the ability of the American people to elect our leaders in free and fair elections," Moran said in the statement. "We must make certain every vote is counted correctly, and I’m confident the principles outlined in our Constitution will guide us through this moment."
U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, who is Kansas’ senator-elect after his victory last week, has said that "transparency is important" in the vote counting process, but echoed Trump in saying that only "every LEGAL vote" should count.
While Trump and his allies have criticized media outlets for the calling the race for Biden on Saturday, Marshall was declared the winner of his own race by the Associated Press on election night.
U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, the lone Democrat in Kansas’ congressional delegation, is also the only member to publicly recognize Biden’s victory.
"The American people have made their voices heard," Davids wrote in a tweet. "They chose an incredible leader in Joe Biden to move our country forward and to unite all of us during these challenging times. I’m looking forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to make progress for (the 3rd Congressional District)."