Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ticked all the boxes for a Trump-era Republican presidential candidate, hitting out at the ‘woke left’ and the media while wading through gender politics on Thursday during an appearance in Sarasota that included a warning about Americans moving away from “Judeo-Christian” values.
Pompeo is widely believed to be eyeing a presidential election in 2024 and referenced the election in his speech to the Sarasota County GOP, saying some in the crowd suggested “there should be something that I would do in 2024”.
Pompeo did not reveal his plans for 2024, but said the left “will stay in the fight, we have to say that too.”
“It’s a long-term fight,” he added. “They are determined, we need to be more determined.”
Pompeo also touched on the invasion of Ukraine, saying the way President Joe Biden’s administration handled the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan “gave the green light” for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
“We can all see what’s happening in Kharkiv and Odessa and Mariupol and kyiv not staying there,” Pompeo said, referring to city-states in Ukraine. “When we make mistakes, when we lose terms, when we tell Vladimir Putin that a minor incursion might be okay…Vladimir Putin says I can move, I can destroy life, I can start having a impact on the West to drive up their costs, carry out cyberattacks in their country, create risk for the American people wherever they are We need to make sure we get it right at home every day.
When serving under former President Donald Trump, Pompeo said “the bad guys knew we were serious.”
“It seems unimaginable to me that so much of what we’ve seen happen in the last 15 months would have happened if President Trump and I were still around,” Pompeo said to applause.
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Pompeo’s record on Russia and Ukraine is complicated by his alleged knowledge of the events that led to Trump’s first impeachment.
Trump was impeached over allegations he withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to trigger an investigation into his political opponent. Trump reportedly wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce the Joe Biden and Hunter Biden investigations.
During Trump’s impeachment, his ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland – who carried out the president’s directives in Ukraine – said Pompeo and other senior government officials were “aware” of what was happening. it was.
State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said at the time that Ambassador Sondland ‘never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the president was linking aid to investigations of political opponents. “. Any suggestion to the contrary is flat out false.
Pompeo recently launched a super PAC and traveled to key states, fueling speculation that he would be interested in running for president.
A former captain in the US Army with a law degree from Harvard Law School, Pompeo worked in the aerospace and oil industries in Kansas before winning a seat in the US House of Representatives in 2011.
Trump chose Pompeo to head the Central Intelligence Agency in 2017 and named him Secretary of State in 2018.
Pompeo served as secretary of state until the end of Trump’s presidency and is considered a staunch Trump loyalist who was in tune with the president on foreign policy issues.
Trump has indicated he could run again in 2024, but Pompeo and other top Republicans appear to be exploring possible presidential campaigns anyway.
Pompeo is among the most prominent alumni of the Trump administration and is well regarded by many MAGA loyalists, adding to his presidential potential. He was warmly received by Sarasota singing, but a mock poll of activists gathered at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando last month found Pompeo trailing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the presidential primary. GOP if Trump doesn’t show up.
DeSantis was 61% in support in the CPAC straw poll, compared to 6% for Pompeo.
Pompeo’s speech at the Sarasota GOP channeled the same culture warrior persona who raised DeSantis. He said US Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson “was asked to define a woman and couldn’t figure it out” and that the left thinks “it’s OK if guys swim in women’s swimming events”.
“The greatest threat to the United States of America is not Vladimir Putin, it’s not Xi Jinping, it’s not President Kim, it’s not the Ayatollah,” Pompeo said. , referring to the rulers of Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, respectively. “The greatest threat to America is that this nation forgets and strays from its Judeo-Christian value.”
Pompeo also slammed the media, always a pleasure for the conservative crowd, but did not take aim at the usual suspects such as CNN, instead attacking his hometown newspaper.
“I don’t know about your newspaper, the Wichita eagle is lost forever,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo received Sarasota’s GOP “Statesman of the Year” award Thursday at an event that also included an appearance by former U.S. Sen. Rick Scott. While much of Pompeo’s speech focused on bragging about the Trump administration’s record abroad and on the left, he also joked about losing weight and being the target. media reviews.
Pompeo is noticeably slimmer than when he was Secretary of State, joking that when people ask him how he lost all the weight, he says “you guys don’t want to know.”
After opinion pieces in The Washington Post and The New York Times that called him the worst secretary of state in history, Pompeo said his son called to verify it and pointed out that Elihu B. Washburne had only been Secretary of State for 11 days in the 1800s.
“Elihu Washburne was Secretary of State, Dad, for only 11 days, surely you’re better than him,” Pompeo told his son, adding, “I lasted more than 11 days.”
“I think I lasted 1,000 days,” he continued to applause.
Follow Herald-Tribune political editor Zac Anderson on Twitter at @zacjanderson. He can be contacted at [email protected]