QUESTION: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former congressman, former director of the CIA, and also – again, to reintroduce him, the first cabinet official that was hired by President Trump, and he’s with us now. Mr. Secretary, welcome. Great to have you, sir.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning. It’s great to be on with you. Thank you for having me on the show today.
QUESTION: Secretary Pompeo’s – it’s always an honor to have you on. I want to start with a question today that I got from an article that was just published, an op-ed in WaPo by Josh Rogin. He has a bombshell story this morning and he’s quoting from State Department cables about the lack of supervision in the P4 lab in Wuhan, specifically about the bat coronavirus research that was ongoing. What can you share with us, Mr. Secretary, concerning that story?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I can’t comment on the story directly. I can say this: The United States works all across the world with various labs. We’re trying to do right by the American people to try and help keep them safe, and we saw at the initiation of this epidemic – we saw that this virus originated in Wuhan, China, and then we watched as the American medical professionals tried to get in to evaluate, to see what was going on, to figure out what the spread looked like, all the things we were talking about back in February and March of this year. How do we make sure we have the right data sets so the American people can understand from where this began so that we can solve the problem? And unfortunately we weren’t able to do that as quickly as we needed to. The World Health Organization wasn’t able to get in either. It delayed the capacity for the world to respond.
Look, accountability for those decisions, we’ll get to. Today, the President’s focus, as you can see from his briefings each day, are on protecting the American people. We will have a full chance to look back at what precisely transpired there and to conduct investigations that help us understand how it’s the case that this epidemic broke out.
QUESTION: Now Mr. Secretary, what is our position now in the fact that the CCP, the Communist Party of China, we now know had this information; they didn’t share it. They either didn’t give it to the WHO or they misled the WHO. We’re not sure which it is, but a lot of people saying now that had they simply shared with us what was going on – and also the President tried to send CDC people in there. They were rejected. What is the story with this?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, they – I think you’ve captured pretty well – go back to first principles. Every country – the Chinese Communist Party has to get this right. We have to have transparency. This data – these data sets matter. It’s how – when you see Dr. Fauci or Dr. Birx, you see them trying to figure out how best for America to respond, you have to have good information. And to your point, at the front end, where this broke out, we didn’t get this information in a sufficiently timely manner. We’ll now focus on the things we need to keep America safe, but there’ll come a day when we go back and look and see how we can prevent something like this from ever happening again, to make sure that the institutions that were designed to raise the global alert, the World Health Organization – how it failed to execute on that mission.
QUESTION: What is our position now on the World Health Organization? I mean, a lot of people depend on them for accurate information. It seems like they gave us anything but that. Meantime, we’re still funding them. The President’s saying yesterday in the press conference that he’s going to make a decision on funding them at the end of the week. Do you have a position on that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, that’s right. Now look, I don’t want to get out in front of the President. We’re certainly evaluating the resources that we provide to the World Health Organization to make sure, in the first instance, that they are delivering for the American people, that we’re getting good value for the money that we’re spending. We need to go take a look at how the WHO performed during this time. There are some things they’ve gotten right throughout time. They’ve done great work against AIDS all across the world. We just need to simply make sure that we have it right. We don’t want to spend a single dollar from the American taxpayer for an organization that’s not keeping Americans safe.
QUESTION: You’re on The John Fredericks Radio Network. We are with Secretary of State of the United States Mike Pompeo. Secretary Pompeo, a lot of people concerned about our supply chain in China, 85 percent of our medical supplies being supplied in China, and I know the President’s concerned about that. You were one of the first people ever to raise flags on it. What do we do going forward so that we’re not in this position again?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So we’ll have to figure out precisely our way forward, but your core point I think is irrefutable. President Trump got this right, even when he was campaigning, and certainly since he came into office; that is, these trade relationships between our two countries matter, and when they are not fair, when they are not reciprocal, you become dependent on other nations. And we’ve seen that play out here in this moment with respect to the virus.
So precisely how we’ll get to the right place, I think we all have to think our way through, but it’s certainly true – and I think President Trump recognizes this – it cannot be the case that we continue to allow the unfair trade relationship with China to continue to impact the American peoples’ lives. We’ve seen the effect of that and we can’t allow it to continue. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of that this administration has done, is to recognize the risk associated with that and to begin to take actions that put America in a better place to make ourselves safer, more secure, and more prosperous here at home.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I want to switch over. I’ve got about a minute and a half and you have to take off. I want to get to the oil pricing situation, the Saudis dumping oil down to $19 a barrel in their war with Putin over it. This is putting our gas and oil producers here in the U.S. at great economic risk. I know you’ve been involved in some of the negotiations. How do you see this playing out, sir?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, we had some good news across the weekend where OPEC-plus – so dozens – several dozen countries all got together, they reached an agreement to decrease supply while we’re in this real demand trough for energy. You’re right; as President talked about a couple of times across the weekend, this is really impactful for American jobs all across America, not just – you think about Texas and Oklahoma and Kansas, the place that I’m from – but all across America, people who are involved in the energy industry.
We need to do everything we can to make sure we protect those jobs, and the President worked all throughout Easter weekend to facilitate that effort to make sure that that deal came together. It took something on the order of 15 to 20 million barrels off the oil market, and I’m very hopeful that that will do a lot to drive these jobs back to America and help our energy industry continue to do what it’s done: provide energy for America and for the world, and reduce America’s security. It means we have less dependency on the Middle East, a place that you and I both know we’ve spent a lot of time and treasure over the past decades.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, lot of us want to thank you for making the decision not to run for U.S. Senate in Kansas and staying as Secretary of State. Those of us in Trump world, we know that how good your relationship is with President Trump, and you were the very first cabinet official that they hired, and so thanks for – thank —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well that’s very kind. I am proud to continue to be America’s Secretary of State, an honor the President lets me keep doing this. It’s a true privilege to serve America in this way.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thanks for your time. Thank you for (inaudible).
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you very much, sir. You have a wonderful day.