(Dallas, Texas) — Major breaking news this morning: CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been tapped as the new Secretary of State, replacing Rex Tillerson.
Pompeo is a fantastic choice — I absolutely could not be more pleased, especially because Pompeo is so clear-eyed and tough on Russia. He gets the grave and growing threat posed by Vladimir Putin, and he’s serious about the need to dramatically and urgently strengthen the U.S.-NATO alliance.
Indeed, at a time when President Trump has been nearly radio silent on the Putin threat. Pompeo is the perfect choice to run the State Department. He could help the President develop a comprehensive new policy on counter rising Russian aggression. He could help the President craft a major speech to the nation to explain the Putin threat and how we’re going to deal with Putin after he wins re-election next Sunday.
Pompeo will be a key player in crafting the strategy to deal with Iran, North Korea and China, among the most serious foreign policy challenges we face. He also is extremely knowledgeable on the Arab-Israel conflict and can play an increasingly important role in a range of U.S. policies in the Mideast, including the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Here’s quick glance at his strengths and experience:
- Pompeo understands the intersection between intelligence, national security and global diplomacy far better than anyone who has served as Secretary of State going back to George Schultz and James Baker in the Reagan administration.
- Graduated first in his class at West Point.
- Served as an officer in the U.S. Army.
- Earned a JD from Harvard.
- Served as a Member of Congress, and thus knows how to operate on Capitol Hill.
- Served on the House Intelligence Committee (where we got to know each other).
- Strongly pro-Israel.
- Solid relationships with our Sunni Arab allies.
- Excellent on North Korea and China.
- And no one is more clear eyed about the Putin threat than Mike Pompeo — he truly understands the threat posed by Vladimir Putin in a way I was never convinced Tillerson did, and I’m personally relieved that President Trump has chosen someone so strong on Russia.
- Most importantly, Pompeo truly has the ear and the confidence of President Trump in a way that Tillerson never had. As CIA Director, Pompeo has been briefing the President almost every day since he took office. They talk about the most sensitive issues on the global stage. Pompeo knows his stuff, and knows how to communicate with the President. They like each other. They know how to work well together. He is, therefore, excellently suited to serve as Secretary of State — this is a position, after all, that requires truly knowing the President’s mind, and being perceived as being close to him, so as to be able to communicate effectively with leaders all over the world.
- Pompeo is also a fan of my political thrillers — what’s not to love?
Please pray for Mike and his wife, Susan, and family. This is a huge promotion but also a very tough job at a very dangerous moment on the world stage.
To understand more about Pompeo — who he is and what he believes — here’s a range of articles worth reading, please a conversation Pompeo had with folks at the American Enterprise Institute last year.
- Trump’s Choices to Lead Defense, Spy Agencies Call for Tougher Russia Response (VOA News)
- Pompeo on Putin claim Kremlin was not involved in meddling: “That’s false.” (The Hill)
- Russia ‘will target US mid-term elections’ says CIA chief (BBC News)
- Mike Pompeo has an opportunity to shake up Russia, China policy, reform State Department (USA Today)
- Trump Nominees Mattis, Pompeo Tough on Russia (Voice of America)
- Replacing Tillerson With Pompeo Would Supplant a Moderate With a Hawk (New York Times, November 2017)
- CIA Director Pompeo Lashes Out at Iran, Compares It to ISIS (NBC News)
- CIA Director Mike Pompeo: North Korea, Iran nuclear weapons co-operations a “real risk” (AP)
- New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Has a Hawkish History on Iran — Mike Pompeo, who Trump nominated to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, has a record as a strong Israel supporter and a fierce critic of the Iran nuclear deal (Haaretz)
- Intelligence beyond 2018: A conversation with CIA Director Mike Pompeo (AEI)
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