Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
QUESTION: Secretary of State Pompeo, Bud Hedinger. Welcome back to Good Morning Orlando.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, it’s good to be with you, again.
QUESTION: We have a lot of folks who are excited to have you on. How are you this morning?
SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s good to be with you. How are you doing, Bud?
QUESTION: Good. We just played from your press conference your response to your question about getting more of these Hillary Clinton emails out there. The President said he’s not too happy with the fact that we can’t seem to get these things declassified and out there. You said yesterday you got problems with people with COVID, et cetera, et cetera – it’s a complicated process. Explain further if you will what the hold up is and whether or not we’re going to have more of these emails out there and we’re going to have them out perhaps for people to scrutinize before the election. Where do we stand on that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, Bud, the good news is today you can go to the State Department website – there’s over 35,000 emails that came from Secretary Clinton’s server. We’re continuing to work to identify whether there are any more that are potentially available. And to the extent that there are, we will process them and get them to the right place. Transparency is always a good thing.
QUESTION: Yeah. And I know you’re very tight with the President; you’re on the same page and the same team. Do you ever worry about the fact that things seem to move slowly behind the scenes? Do you think you might have some anti-Trump or deep staters buried in the State Department that aren’t as enthusiastic about getting these things out as you and the President might be?
SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s a big bureaucracy, Bud. I’ve now led a couple of them. They often don’t move at the pace that you and I might prefer and at the pace, frankly, that companies all across America do to compete. So to get it to move, to get it to do the right thing is something that is my responsibility. It’s the duty of every leader to get it moving in the right direction. I’m pretty confident we’ll get those fit to do it.
QUESTION: But you’re not smelling a rat – you don’t smell a rat like I suggested here? I mean, you really think that they’re doing the best they can?
SECRETARY POMPEO: There’s always people inside of every organization that aren’t fully on board, on the team’s mission. When we identify them, we move them out of the way. We get them to a different place, and we try to find people only who are committed to doing America’s mission, President Trump’s mission, on behalf of the United States.
QUESTION: I’ve got to ask you Secretary, this New York Post expose on the Hunter Biden emails that seem to have caught Joe Biden in a boldfaced lie when he says he had no idea about the – his son Hunter’s dealings when he had that deal on the board, making tons of money for Burisma over in the Ukraine. And it looks like – that they were thanking Hunter for setting up the meeting with his dad, then vice president, in Washington. Where are you on all of this? How much of a big deal is this? I mean, this is an international story and you’re the Secretary of State, our top diplomat here. Where’s this going and what are the implications of this?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, look, I worry every day about the information that the American people need to have. We were just talking about it; we’re talking about it now as well. I think every leader, every person who puts themselves forward to run for office, whether it’s someone who’s running for president or someone who’s running for city council, has an obligation to respond, to be transparent to the American people. I hope that everybody involved in the presidential campaign will do that.
And then my mission as the Secretary of State is to do everything I can to make sure that countries aren’t propagating information in a way here. I’ve been working on Confucius Institutes to stop the Chinese Communist Party from doing it. We’ve been working to convince the Islamic Republic of Iran that it is going to be very costly to them if they engage in election inference here. That foreign element, that international component of this, is what the State Department is deeply focused on.
And then I have the hope and the expectation, as every American citizen ought to, that anybody who puts themselves forward for public office ought to respond to accusations in a way that the American people can come to fully evaluate what’s real and what’s not real.
QUESTION: Live with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. We only have a couple of minutes together. I’m glad you brought it up here, because I know you wanted to come on and sound the alarm about the danger of China’s Confucius Institutes set up on American college campuses, allegedly to teach Chinese language and culture. But you see a dark side to this, don’t you, sir?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Bud, the cover story is that they’re coming here for cultural goodwill and to teach Mandarin. The reality is that this is part of this very kind of influence campaign we were just speaking to. It’s the Chinese Communist Party’s effort to exert their global influence inside of our classrooms and effectively, Bud, allows the Chinese Government to take up a physical presence inside the halls of our children’s classrooms. That’s unacceptable.
We’re asking every school to shut down their Confucius Institute by the end of the year. It’s not just in colleges; it’s in high schools and K through 12 institutions as well. These are propaganda organizations underwritten by the Chinese Communist Party and they ought not be inside of American institutions.
QUESTION: Before you go, sir, peace and stability in the Middle East – I know you wanted to talk briefly about that. It was amazing, the President announcing those recent deals with Israel, the peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain. The President then said we might have five or six more countries following suit. Where are they? What’s going on with that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: He’s right about that. We may well end up with a number of more countries who do precisely what the Emiratis and the Bahrainis did. The good news, Bud, is that Floridians are safer today because of the work that the President did to deliver those outcomes. Fewer young kids who grow up Florida or Kansas, my home state, will have to go serve in difficult places in the Middle East to keep us safe and keep terror from coming from our shores. That’s the great outcome. That’s the great news of these efforts to create peace and stability in the Middle East.
We’re working every day to try and convince an additional set of countries that the right thing to do is not to hate Israel, not to be against the Jewish homeland, but whether to work alongside them and benefit from the enormous economy that’s there, the technology that’s there, and the security relationships which will benefit their country and the United States and our citizens.
QUESTION: Just as a yes or no if you can: President wins reelection – will you stay on as Secretary of State if he wants you to?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes. And that’s obviously up to the President of the United States, but it’s been an incredible privilege. Still work to do as well.
QUESTION: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, thank you so much. Come back soon, okay?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Bud. So long, sir.
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