QUESTION: Here’s our Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who joins us. Mr. Secretary, I’ve seen a lot. I wrote a book, Deliver Us from Evil, in 2004. It talked about over a hundred million people killed in the last century alone. And I look at this – when they stopped travel from Wuhan to the rest of China, from China to Wuhan, but they left it open internationally, then they scooped up all of the protective gear and now profiteering, and then they kept the virus and lied to the world, and it hurt all of us, and all these people dying, when you said to me you would have helped them, I am so angry words cannot describe my anger.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, Sean, that’s appropriate that you’re angry. I think many of us are angry. I know the President feels the same way. China caused an enormous amount of pain, loss of life, and now a huge challenge for the global economy and the American economy as well, by not sharing the information they had.
Sean, you should know we still don’t have full transparency from the Chinese Communist Party. I’m still concerned that there are things we don’t know. We don’t know the history. We haven’t been able to get our team on the ground to do the work that it needs to do. This is an ongoing challenge, and the Chinese Communist Party and the World Health Organization have failed to do the things they have responsibility to do when there is a pandemic inside of their country.
QUESTION: Okay. Now the question is: How do we get them to make up for this, make good on this? Now, they do hold a lot of our debt. My – look, I’m not involved in what you do. You’re a lot smarter than me – number one in West Point. Okay, so I will cede this territory to you. My feeling is we shouldn’t pay it back. Maybe that’s impossible.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Sean, I am very confident that the Chinese Communist Party will pay a price for what they did here, certainly from the United States. I don’t know exactly what form that will take. Our focus today isn’t on that. It’s on making sure we keep Americans safe, take down the health risk, keep people healthy as we can, and get this economy going back.
But I am very confident. I talk to business people all around the country. I talk to ordinary citizens – people who have put their lives at risk over the last weeks. They know that this is a result of this virus that originated in Wuhan, China, and they know that the Chinese Government didn’t do the things it needed to do. There will be a cost associated with that.
We need to focus on the here and now, and there will be a time to make sure that we get this right, to make sure that we’re not dependent on China for our pharmaceutical goods and all the things that we’ve seen that we just didn’t have right and that President Trump had identified early on as things we needed to fix in the relationship between the United States and China.
QUESTION: He knew pretty early and was probably the loudest critic of China. You probably can’t answer this, so I won’t waste a lot of time on it. Private conversations – how direct are you and the President being with China?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Very direct. They know precisely what it is that we have observed. We know what we’ve – they know what we’ve asked them to do to try and make sure that we don’t have an ongoing problem. Remember, Sean, there are multiple virus labs inside of China. We need to make sure we understand what’s going on in all of those – the one in Wuhan and elsewhere too. We have to make sure that we don’t have this problem yet again coming from China.
This is a very dangerous situation. We have made clear our expectations. I’ve seen the President do it.
QUESTION: Any update on Iran and the ships – these boats, these – wreaking havoc? The President laid out his order very clearly.
SECRETARY POMPEO: This administration behaves totally different than the previous one. You’ll recall when they took our Navy sailors, made them kneel down, and Secretary Kerry apologized to get them back. This President has taken a completely different approach. He has told the Iranian regime enough, we’re not going to permit this, we’re going to defend our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen, and Marines. I think the Iranians understand that as well.
QUESTION: Last, any update on Kim Jong-un and the reports about his health that you could share? You probably can’t, but I’ve got to try. I mean, give me credit for trying.
SECRETARY POMPEO: No, I don’t – I appreciate the question. I don’t have anything I can share with you tonight, but the American people should know we’re watching the situation very keenly.
QUESTION: All right, Mike Pompeo, we always appreciate you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Sean, thank you. You have a good evening, sir.
QUESTION: Have a great evening, sir.