Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
QUESTION: Our guest tonight, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for joining us on Newsmax. How are you tonight?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m very good, great. Thank you for having me on the show. It’s great to be with you.
QUESTION: You bet. Listen, I’ve got some good news and bad news. We’ll start with the bad news. A major media organization has called you the worst secretary of state ever. But the good news is that’s coming from the China state-affiliated media. (Laughter.) Which I think is possibly the greatest endorsement a U.S. secretary of state could get. Were you aware of that report?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’ve seen what the Chinese media has said about me. It’s state media, it’s directed by General Xi Jinping and his fellow comrades. They don’t think very highly of the Trump administration or me for the actions that we’ve taken to constrain their malign activities all across the world.
QUESTION: Is anything else coming, though? We heard the President on the White House lawn the other day reminding everybody that the virus is – the China virus, it’s their fault. And he’s saying that they will pay a big price. And I’ve been hearing that for a while, that it’s coming, it’s coming. When is it coming, and what could it be?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I don’t want to get out in front of the decision that the President has before him to make. But make no mistake about it, we recognize what the Chinese Communist Party did to the world, and what they did to the American people – not only the loss of life here that’s so tragic, but all the destruction of jobs and opportunity that’s happened. The Chinese Communist Party is directly responsible for this, because they chose to cover this up and do what authoritarian regimes do: hide information from the world.
I will tell you that the Chinese Communist Party has already started to pay a price in so many ways. I don’t know if you saw the data, but the world has turned against them. People have come to understand the threat that they pose. And so all the goodwill that they had garnered over all these past years, when we looked the other way and let the Chinese Communist Party destroy jobs and destroy our way of life here in the West – I think the world has come to see what the Chinese Communist Party is truly made of, and I think you’ll see not only the United States impose a cost for this, but I think you’ll see countries all across the world come to recognize they want to be firmly planted as a partner and ally of the United States of America.
QUESTION: You’ve been traveling a lot – Europe, Japan – and you’ve been talking about China. Is this a – they don’t need much convincing; I mean, they’re on board, they recognize China for the threat that they are, and the irresponsible actions that they’ve taken?
SECRETARY POMPEO: More so now than they did two and a half or three and a half years ago. But frankly, that’s true for the United States as well. For an awfully long time, the United States bent a knee. We accepted the Chinese Communist Party as someone who was going to play by the rules. We knew it wasn’t true, but we pretended that it was. But President Trump said no more. So whether it was the predatory economic activity that destroyed jobs in the United States, or whether their – it was their military buildup that President Trump is now going to match and exceed, or whether it was their efforts in the intelligence and disinformation space, we are countering them, we are confronting them every place they pose a threat to the American people. President Trump is determined to ensure that the next generation continues to live in a world that admires democracy and freedom and our republic, and isn’t dominated by a Chinese Communist Party that values none of those things.
QUESTION: So President Trump – we support him here, we like him a lot, we love him. But I would imagine, like any effective executive, he’s a tough boss from time to time. He told Maria Bartiromo that he wants you – you personally – to find those Hillary Clinton emails in the State Department. He’s wondering why they aren’t out there by now. I thought they were all deleted. When he says he wants you to get them, are they gettable? Are there missing Secretary-of-State-Hillary-
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, Greg, we’re never certain that we got them all. When the secretary of state puts private information that is classified on her personal server that is not connected to the State Department’s information network, one never knows for sure if they’ve got them all. Those that are inside the State Department, the American people should know we will get them out. Many of them are on our website today; you can go to state.gov and see many of them. But if there are others, if there are others that are somewhere sitting inside the State Department, know full well that President Trump and I will ensure that the American people get a chance to see them as it’s appropriate and as soon as we can get them out.
QUESTION: Sir, I’ve been hearing about sanctions on Iran since they took our hostages in the late ’70s. And this sounds promising to me: Yesterday, 18 major Iranian banks sanctioned, depriving the Islamic Republic of funds to carry out terrorist activities. How are these new and different? I mean, again, I have heard about these before, and are these more effective? And does something in addition to sanctions – and I know there’s a lot going on, but anything else coming down the pike you can tell us about?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So you’ve asked the right question, Greg. The most important thing that President Trump did was recognize that the nuclear deal was dumb, that it was bad for America, that it presented real risk. And so he ripped America out of that back in May of 2018. Since then, we have taken a fundamentally different approach to stability in the Middle East. We recognize the Islamic Republic of Iran as the greatest threat to that peace – the greatest threat, frankly, to Americans all across this great country. And so we have put enormous costs on the regime itself.
So the sanctions you saw yesterday were just the latest in scores of sanctions we have put on them. We have denied tens and tens of billions of dollars that the Iranians frankly would have had if we just kept doing what the previous administration did: fund, fuel, and feed the Iranian regime. President Trump said we’re not going to do that. And so they’ve had less money – less money to foment terror, less money to build up their nuclear program, and fewer resources to challenge the United States all across the world.
There’s still work to do —
QUESTION: So —
SECRETARY POMPEO: — but you can see the difference, Greg. You can see it with the Abraham Accords. You can see that the Middle East is coalescing around our Vision for Peace in the Middle East.
QUESTION: Let me ask you this: The deal between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain – major success. We’re hearing rumblings that more countries might be on the verge of announcing or coming to an agreement with Israel, places like Saudi Arabia. And if this were to happen, it would be kind of an October surprise, in a good way. Is there anything to that? We do have an election coming. Good news would obviously help; not that you’re supposed to be worried about politics. But look, is something coming that’s good?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes. I can’t tell you when, Greg. I couldn’t tell you if it’ll come in the next two weeks or three weeks. But what’s coming that’s good is the recognition that hatred of Israel is not a foreign policy. And so the Emiratis saw that, the Bahrainis have seen that, I think countries all across the Middle East, Arab nations there, understand that Israel is here to stay. They’re a democracy. Being their partner on security and economics is a good thing. President Trump’s Vision for Peace created the space, the opportunity for these normalizations to take place.
I am very confident that a number of other states will join what the Emiratis and the Bahrainis did. Whether that happens tomorrow or happens two weeks from now, those are sovereign decisions of those nations. I hope they’ll do it as quickly as possible – not for the election, but because it’s the right thing for their countries to do.
QUESTION: You are the Secretary of State, you were appointed by the elected President, but you preside over a very large bureaucracy. We’ve all heard about the deep state, the swamp. We also know there are good people there, but there are some who think they are more important than the democratic leaders who, in their opinion, come and go. How much of your time is spent kind of reining in that permanent bureaucracy that sometimes does not want to execute the will of this President?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Greg, it’s a good question. And you’re right, there are many people here – at the State Department here who are working to deliver exactly what I ask them to do at the direction of the President. There are some who are trying to undermine that. This is a 75,000-person organization. I have led lots of teams; this has been the leadership challenge of my lifetime for sure. It is every – it is every State Department employee’s obligation to deliver the outcomes that the American people asked for when they elected President Trump. I’ve worked diligently to lead them, to make sure they understand the commander’s intent. I think the State Department has delivered on President Trump’s objectives. We talked about a few of them. There are many other areas where we’ve done it as well. I want every member of our team to do their duty, do their responsibility, and deliver on behalf of the President elected by the American people.
QUESTION: We have a little bit more time. I do want to ask you about President Trump, his personal demeanor and perhaps charm or how he operates in a room with foreign leaders. You’ve seen it up close. I actually heard this from – I can’t remember if it’s off the record or not. It was long ago enough, I’ll just tell you – Henry Kissinger told me that Donald Trump has the key ingredient that when he’s in a room, he fills it. There’s an energy there that actually is more important than having the briefing book thoroughly read and digested from A to Z, that he can fill a room and that world leaders actually respond to that and respect that in a unique way. That’s from Henry Kissinger. Does that make sense?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, high praise from Dr. Kissinger for sure. I’ve seen it too now for, goodness, almost four years. I first served as the CIA director, now as Secretary of State; I’ve seen the President interact in person and by phone with many, many world leaders over lots of time. They watch him, they see him. He’s engaging, he asks good questions, he listens, and then he tells it like it is. He tells them, “This is what America thinks, this is what we’re going to do, this is how we’re going to respond to that.” This is what leaders around the world appreciate. They want a counterpart in America who is strong and capable and prepared to be honest about what it is are in America’s interests and then find ways to work to deliver jointly, to build out alliances. President Trump does that. He’s warm and engaging with these leaders, and I think they respect him for his willingness to just be straight up about what it is he’s trying to accomplish.
QUESTION: We’re hearing positive progress about Serbia and Kosovo. Anything imminent that could finally put this to rest once and for all?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So we’ve already made really good progress. I think – I think Americans don’t pay enough attention to some of these smaller things that present real risk to the United States of America. So what we’ve done with Serbia and Kosovo is begin to head them down the path which I think will lead to really good outcomes. I was in the Balkans just a week and a half ago now meeting with the leaders in Croatia. That whole region is in a better place today as a result of what we’ve done in the Trump administration.
QUESTION: I got a couple of pictures of you. You’re a military man. Not everybody knows that or remembers that, but a graduate of West Point and did very well there. Number one in your class. Let’s see, Harvard Law School, you’ve negotiated with Kim Jong-un, but you’ve got an Instagram account that shows that you’re basically a homebody who likes to hang out with – (break in audio).
Great dogs, great family, and when I see these pictures and I see the whole package I wonder: Would you think about running for president in four years?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Oh, goodness, Greg. That’s a long ways off. I’m focused on making sure we execute our mission over the coming days and weeks. There’s plenty of time to think about all those other things. I want to make sure that we do the right thing so the American people get a clear shot at deciding what they want to do come November 3rd of this year.
QUESTION: You know some people are surprised, though, when they go to the Instagram account and they see this guy who travels the world and then you’re playing – have puppies at home. It’s terrific, by the way.
Hey, finally, you’ve got to be the most jet-lagged person in the world. I mean, the way you travel, the relentless – I mean, what’s the secret? I guess you have a pretty nice arrangement on the plane where you can actually – like a special bedroom or something like that, but anyway, how do you cope with all the travel?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Greg, it’s like anything else in life, you just get up every day, put your helmet on, get back out there. You know it as a former soldier, you just work hard, you stay focused. Any time you can catch 20 minutes to get a nap or a little bit of sleep, you do it, and then you get up the next day and get right back after it.
QUESTION: Yeah, well, this is where I will have to correct you. Mr. Secretary, former Marine. That’s a Marine that I —
SECRETARY POMPEO: (Laughter.) Bless you, Greg.
QUESTION: But —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Semper fi, my friend.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) on that one, Mr. Secretary. Thank you so much for joining us on Newsmax. Continued success and safe travels.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, sir. So long.
QUESTION: All the best, sir.
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