QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, great to have you on. I know it’s been a crazy, wild, busy few weeks for you here. I want to just start off with the impeachment front and ask you: As you go about your business around the world doing that day-to-day job of yours, how much has this process affected you and your dealings with other world leaders as you try to get things done?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, Pete, thanks for having me on the show again. I’m sorry I missed you when I was last back in Kansas. People around the world are certainly watching this, but me and my team here at the State Department remain focused on the mission set. Our mission set is pretty clear: to protect the American people, to keep them safe, to execute American diplomacy. And so the noise, the Washington noise, the breathless coverage that people are seeing every day, doesn’t impact our capacity to perform our function. If someone raises it, we do our best to address it and then we tell them let’s get on with the things that really matter, the things that will really affect the lives of people in places like Missouri and Kansas and all across America.
QUESTION: But you don’t suspect that you’re getting slow-played on anything by other world leaders with the idea of, “Oh, we don’t know how long this administration will be around,” or anything like that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: No, I don’t have any sense that that’s taking place. I think they all understand that this administration is going to be around, that there’ll be an election one year from – yesterday, right?
QUESTION: Yup, yup.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So 365 days from now. I think they all recognized that and they appreciate that we’re doing what we need to do to work with them, with our partners and friends and allies across the world, to take down risk.
QUESTION: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo kind enough to give us a few minutes here on KCMO Talk Radio. Always great to have him on back home. Mr. Secretary, on the impeachment front, as a former House member watching this from afar, obviously the process looks like it’s going to be corrected a bit. It will be more public for the American people to at least keep an eye on and follow instead of just getting things through leaks and reports. But how frustrating has this been for you, as someone who’s been on both sides of this now, to watch this unfold?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, I welcome the fact that they’ve indicated that this will become more public in the sense that transcripts will be provided. My concern all along has been for the State Department and our team to make sure that when State Department officials were asked to testify that they were doing so in a way that was fair. We’ve not been permitted to have counsel in the room. There’s important national security information that these individuals have by nature of their work, and they haven’t the advice and wisdom of State Department officials, State Department counsel in with them when they’re getting questioned to make sure we protect this information so that it doesn’t get out inappropriately. And that’s – that’s not right. That’s not the way the process should have been conducted. I regret that and I hope that the House of Representatives will correct that. All we’re asking for is we want our officers to go to testify, we want them to be prepared, and we want them to speak truthfully and completely, but they need to do so with the capacity to ensure that we protect all of the information from disclosure to our adversaries that needs to be protected.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, someone who obviously you don’t really have any dealings with or control over is Rudy Giuliani, who is a part of this. There were reports that you were – at least my two cents – very understandably frustrated with the role that he was playing here in this whole operation. Can you speak any more to that in how much you knew about what Rudy was doing?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We have at the State Department since my time – now a year and a half – been singularly focused on protecting the American people. There’s a thousand files. You’ve now asked four questions about Ukraine. As it relates to Ukraine, we were focused on a handful of things. One, this is a nation with a deep history of corruption, and our mission set, the ambassador’s mission set there, Mr. Volker’s mission set there were very clear, was to put in place the tool set so that the new leadership, President Zelensky and the team around him, would be able to deliver on what they had committed during their campaign, which was to take down the risk of corruption. And it’s also the case that the Russians took Crimea when President Obama was in office, moved into southeast Ukraine, an area called the Donbas, when President Obama was in office. President Obama then refused to provide them with the tools, the weapons systems that they needed to preserve their nation.
President Trump has consistently – not once now, not twice now, but three times – provided those weapons systems to the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian leadership. We have provided them technical assistance that the previous administration refused to provide. We have robustly helped the Ukrainian people and we collectively at the State Department have been focused like a laser on delivering the President – on the President’s guidance with respect to how it is the case that we can deliver a Western-looking Ukraine that will preserve democracy, freedom, and liberty in Ukraine and in Europe and protect Americans as well.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, it’s great to have you on KCMO. I want to talk to you about your trip last week here to the state. You were down in Wichita with Ivanka Trump, of course, the President’s daughter. Can you take us through what you guys had planned, for those who might have missed that trip, what you guys hit on while you were in the state?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, Pete, it was a great trip. It was something that Senior Advisor Trump’s been involved in since the beginning of the administration, which is making sure that we have the talent, the trained workforce, to continue to grow the American economy. She was coming to Wichita State. I told her I’d love to come along with her because I wanted to talk about the connectivity between her work – to make sure that American people are prepared for the next generation of jobs, that the training is right, that our institutions are prepared to make sure that we can grow our economy. Because absent that, absent a successful American economy, my job gets much harder. My diplomacy around the world is difficult if America is weak, and America’s strength is projected through what is now some of the lowest unemployment rates in history, good, solid, economic growth – we had a jobs number last month that was the equivalent of about 303,000 jobs created.
What you saw – what was happening down in Wichita, amazing work at the technical school there to train both people who are just entering the workforce and those – some of who are later in their careers. Amazing work. And that strength, that economic capacity here in America provides me the foundation to succeed diplomatically around the world.
QUESTION: And a big diplomatic win came last weekend while you were back in the state. I understand you’re here for that trip, and also a wedding as well, as was reported. The death of al-Baghdadi – how much does that death, Mr. Secretary, confirm that what we’re doing in that region with an efficient group of special forces can have an effect? I know we talk about ending the endless wars, that is a big thing for President Trump, but it seemed to work to a T, did it not?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So it was a truly remarkable outcome, something that had been in the works for an awfully long time. The President gave guidance – I’ve told this story – gave guidance on his very first day in office when I was the CIA director and said, “I want to take down the leadership of the caliphate and destroy the caliphate.” We’ve now accomplished both of those things. The caliphate, which had grown to a region the size of the state of Ohio – and you remember, Pete, the people in cages being burned, heads being cut off. All that has been eliminated; there is no longer a caliphate.
And then, now two weeks ago, we took out ISIS’s leader, the man who planned, plotted, and achieved that success in building up the caliphate during President Obama’s time.
So it’s a good outcome; it’s important. It was done with the utmost professionalism from our intelligence professionals as well as our amazing men and women in uniform, something truly that is an achievement for America and for our administration, and which reminds those who are thinking about joining the jihad, who are thinking about joining ISIS, that America’s long arm will continue to reach out and take them down, and that this fight against the threat from radical extremism, while it continues, is something America will never shrink away from.
QUESTION: Well, Mr. Secretary, I know it’s been a very busy several weeks for you here. I know as all the noise comes out of D.C., you guys have kept that nose to the grindstone, doing a lot of good things, and it’s always great to get you back on here in the state, in the region, in Kansas City as well. And we set aside a little bit of time at the end of the segment just in case there’s anything else going on with you on the Senate front that continues to be a rumor. Anything that we should know at this point or anything like that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: No, Pete, thanks. I appreciate that. It’s always great to talk to you and the listeners that you have. No, nothing new. I’ve said consistently that so long as President Trump wants me to be his Secretary of State, I intend to try to do my best to serve Kansans and Americans in a way that keeps them safe. That’s my mission set; it’s what I’m focused on. It’s what I intend to do so long as President Trump wants to continue to ask me to serve.
QUESTION: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mr. Secretary, great to have you on. Really appreciate a few minutes. Thanks so much.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Pete. Have a good day, sir.
QUESTION: Thank you.