QUESTION:  Well, he’s the Secretary of State, and of course he’s been in the news quite a bit, and will continue to be over the next couple of years at least, we hope.  We’re pleased to be joined this morning by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  You can follow him on Twitter, by the way, @SecPompeo.  Morning to you, Mr. Secretary.  Thanks for joining us this morning.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Good morning, Jimmy.  It’s great to be with you.  Thanks for having me on the show today.

QUESTION:  Yeah.  Your name pops up periodically when talking about the impeachment trial, as to whether or not you might be subpoenaed there.  If the Democrats decide to call you, would you be willing to testify?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  I’ve said all along that if legally required to testify, I’d do that.  President Trump has always made clear to everyone on his team that we’ll always comply with every legal requirement.

QUESTION:  All right.  And he has said – when it came to John Bolton, for example, though, that some of these issues, when talking to his top advisors, could compromise national security.  You’re in agreement with that, I would imagine?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Oh, of course.  No, there’s lots of things.  First, the President is entitled to confidential advice from those senior people around him.  It’s really important.  You know this.  You need to be able to have private conversations so that you can think through hard problem sets to protect the American people.  So it’s absolutely the case that many of the things that happen in the Executive Office and with the President need to be something that the President can know will be private so that we can think through these difficult challenges to protect America.

QUESTION:  Then why would you think the Democrats would continue to push for these kind of conversations, knowing that this is certainly a possibility, that it could impact national security?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Yeah, you’d have to ask them.  I’ve watched this process.  It’s sadly become awfully political.  I hope the process will continue.  I hope it’ll come to its logical conclusion quickly.  I want to make sure that America and the American people are focused on the things that really matter to delivering good outcomes – more prosperous opportunity, jobs, all the things that our administration has been working on.

QUESTION:  Right.  Mr. Secretary, it seems that things with Iran have quieted down a bit, at least in the public eye.  A couple weeks ago, if you listened to a lot of the news media, or the Democrats, we were headed toward World War III.  And now we’re not hearing a lot.  What’s the latest on Iran?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Well, there’s still risk.  The efforts that the President undertook a couple weeks back when we took the strike against Qasem Soleimani, a man who, Jimmy, had killed hundreds of Americans, was engaged in plotting and planning to kill more Americans – we think we sent a strong message, as well as taking off a strategic player who was a terrorist, who’d done lots of harm to the United States of America.  They’re still the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, the Islamic Republic of Iran.  They had been given billions and billions of dollars by the previous administration to foment that terror campaign around the world and to build out their nuclear program.  And we are very focused on two things.  First, the President said they’ll never have a nuclear weapon.  We’re simply not going to let that happen.  And second, protecting people in Florida and all across America from the threat of Iranian terrorism.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, you talked a little about American values when it comes to foreign policy.  How does that apply to our part of the world here in south Florida, when we are concerned about Venezuela or concerned about Cuba.  How does that apply?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  So President Trump’s been very realistic about how our foreign policy ought to be conducted.  He’s not about nation-building; he’s about protecting the American people.  When we stare at the problem set – I met with Juan Guaido, the elected president of Venezuela, just this past week in Colombia – when we stare at this problem set, with these communist regimes in Cuba, in Nicaragua, in Venezuela, America has always been committed to trying to help those people establish democracies to stamp out communism.  We continue that effort.  It’s good for the region, it’s good for the people of those countries, and it’s important to the citizens of south Florida and people all across the United States.

QUESTION:  Do you believe we should move closer to Cuba?  I mean, it seems it’s a vacillating element.  With the previous administration, we were moving much closer, and people with families there were going over and back and forth and trading a lot of things.  And now that seems to have just all but shut down.  What’s your take on Cuba?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  President Trump doesn’t want to see trade taking place with Cuba that is benefiting the regime, benefiting these oppressive communist dictators who are treating their own people so horribly, so terribly.  So our mission set has been to do all that we can to support the people of Cuba, while making sure that money, dollars, trade, all the things that prop up this military, this junta, this set of dictators that have done so much harm to the people of Cuba – you know them so well, they live – so many live in this region.  Our mission set has been to create the conditions where the Cuban people can have the opportunity to throw off the yoke of communism.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, are you in south Florida?  If it’s a security issue, please don’t tell me.  I just wondered —

SECRETARY POMPEO:  No, I’m in Miami now, and then I’m headed up to Sumter County Fairgrounds a little later this afternoon.

QUESTION:  Okay, we were just wondering what you’re doing in south Florida.  I guess everybody comes through.  I hope you’re at least taking some time for yourself.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Sadly, I didn’t get much time, but I’m going to be with Governor DeSantis this morning and we’re going to talk about Venezuela and Cuba.

QUESTION:  Yeah, well, we hope to get a chance to talk to you again in the future.  Thank you so much.  You were very kind with your time this morning.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thank you so very much, sir.  Have a great day.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

 

U.S. Department of State

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