(New York, NY) — PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said the following in response to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remarks today promising a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

“To dismiss this comment as a joke is to ignore the essential truth that words matter. They can shore up or undermine public faith in democracy, and they can hold those who would undermine democratic norms to account, or give them cover. The secretary of state is right about one thing—the world is watching, and autocrats across the globe are no doubt delighting in his apparent disregard for the democratic process here in the U.S. No matter the Secretary’s intention with these remarks, it is astonishingly irresponsible for the senior-most American diplomat to so willingly give cover to governments who refuse to accept the will of their citizens. And it is deeply disappointing to see the Secretary of State show such disdain for the will of the American people, above all.”