WASHINGTON – As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prepared to take his first international trip in nearly seven weeks, his staff drew up a set of detailed “risk mitigation” steps to protect him and his entourage from infection amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

But when Pompeo boarded his flight Tuesday, he was not wearing a mask – one of the only people on the plane without one, according to reporters who were traveling with the secretary. A top State Department physician told reporters on Friday that masks would be used on the trip according to CDC guidelines, which calls for face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Pompeo’s decision to forgo a face covering highlights the mixed messages across the federal government as President Donald

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