QUESTION: Special guest this afternoon on KQAM is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Wichita one week ago with Senior Advisor to President Donald Trump Ivanka Trump. Mr. Secretary, a lot has happened in just a week’s time. We’ll start off with some of the most recent news, that being of North Korea’s latest missile test. What’s the latest on that situation?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So it would’ve been now the last 24 hours North Korea fired two – what we think were rockets that were consistent with what they’ve done before. We are still working diligently to execute what President Trump and Chairman Kim agreed to now in June of a year ago to try and get North Korea to denuclearize. It’s an important mission for the world. The entire world came together around a series of UN Security Council resolutions. Chairman Kim then made this commitment that said he would denuclearize, and we are working to negotiate that outcome. The progress has been far too slow. I’m hopeful that we can continue to work on this project and get a good outcome in the months ahead.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, on your visit to Wichita last week with Ivanka Trump, can you give us a reader’s digest, condensed version of what the visit was for and how you walked away from it?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So we came out – it was a great visit. It’s always, first of all, great to be back home. But second, we went out to Wichita Technical and talked about workforce development, how it is that we can take young people, make sure they get the skills, the training, and even people who are later along in their careers, get them some additional skills so they can go out and take every opportunity that they are prepared to avail themselves to take care of themselves and their families.
It was great to be out there with Senior Advisor Trump. She has led this effort, putting hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people through training, through private institutions. We had folks from Textron there, we had folks from Boeing, and it was a great visit. I think we highlighted the importance of the private sector coming together with government – in this case, Wichita State – to deliver really good outcomes for citizens all across America in terms of enabling them to be productive. It matters to me as the Secretary of State because if we don’t have a thriving economy, if we are not able to build high-tech, innovative products, then my capacity to execute American diplomacy around the world will be diminished. So there is a clear link between America’s economic power and American national security, and I wanted to be out there to talk about that.
QUESTION: Now, I’ve tried to keep tally in light of recent news by Senator Menendez, who has said that your visits to Wichita, coming home to Kansas, are violating the Hatch Act, by coming to the home state of Kansas. And Mr. Secretary, I’m trying to remember – three years in the administration, and I’m only aware of four trips that I can think of, three or four.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes. I apologize for that, and I regret that. I wish I had been – gotten back there more. Susan and I had both thought we’d manage to get back to Kansas several times a year. It just has turned out to not be the case. It was – I don’t know. I think from Senator Menendez, this is just all silliness, this is politics. I think in Senator Menendez’s mind it’s probably hard for him to imagine why anybody would want to go to Kansas. It’s the kind of left coast, elitist, liberalism that can’t understand how someone would want to go to the amazing place like Kansas. I’ll leave that to him; it’s his loss not to understand the greatness of being in places like Wichita and places like Kansas City, and all the things that Susan and I know and love so well.
QUESTION: Very good. The raid over the weekend, Mr. Secretary, that killed Baghdadi and the ISIS spokesman – a huge success in the defeat of terrorism.
SECRETARY POMPEO: An important day for which President Trump should be given great credit. Since I’ve worked in this administration now almost three years, President Trump has been singularly focused on making sure that we pushed back against radical Islamic terrorism wherever we found it. He had on his radar from the first day he was in office that we needed to take down the leadership of these entities, including ISIS. And we did it. We defeated the caliphate. It had occupied real estate almost the size of the state of Ohio; now occupies and governs over nothing. The risk isn’t gone; they’re still out there. But the work that President Trump has led and then the outcome we got on Sunday, for which America’s military should be proud, America’s intelligence community should be applauded – we should thank these young men and women for the amazing work that they did, the skill that they exhibited in getting the collection of the information, to the execution of the mission, flawlessly executed.
America should be proud. We’re the only nation in the world that could pull off something like that. It takes great skill and daring, and leaders who are prepared to execute missions like that.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you gave a speech yesterday, I believe, in New York City, in reference to China and where we are at as a country with China.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I wanted to – I did, I spoke – it was up in New York City. I wanted to help the American people understand that the United States wants China to be successful, we want to be a great partner and friend to the people of China. We all know the people who are here, living here in the United States, going to schools in places like K State and KU and Wichita State who are Chinese citizens, good people, but I wanted them also to be deeply aware that the Chinese Communist Party is working in ways that present risk to the American way of life.
We’ve seen it in trade. We watched for years the Chinese Communist Party put forward trade rules that harmed Kansas farmers. I don’t know how many times I would travel through Cowley County or Sumner County or someplace else in Kansas and they’d say, “Mike, we can’t sell our products in China.” This is one example of the Chinese Communist Party acting in ways that put America’s capacity for growth and prosperity and our freedom-loving way of life at risk, and this administration is determined to push back against that and preserve America’s freedom and America’s security.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, one final question as I know you’re on a tight schedule this afternoon. Monday marks a very important anniversary, that being the 40th anniversary of the hostage crisis in Iran.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Forty years for a bunch of your listeners that won’t remember this day back in 1979 when the U.S. embassy in Tehran was overrun and we had hostages held for over 400 days. It was tragic. The Islamic Republic of Iran continues – the regime that came to power at that time continues to create havoc throughout the Middle East, to raise the cost of living for people all across the world and remains the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.
The previous administration had chosen a different path. They had – they’d cut a deal with Iran that created wealth for the clerics, the most-senior leaders, the ayatollah. We’ve taken the approach that says we’re going to starve them of the capacity to inflict terror. We want to take the resources away so they can’t put Israel at risk, put the Middle East at risk, or put America at risk. And we’ve been successful at that. There’s more work to do, but we’re very confident we’re on the right path.
QUESTION: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on KQAM. Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule, and we’ll look forward to visiting with you next time.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, sir. I hope to see you all back in Kansas before too long.
QUESTION: Mike, thank you very much. I appreciate it, sir.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, sir. So long.
QUESTION: So long. Bye.