QUESTION: He joins us now, the Secretary of State of the United States Mike Pompeo on the line. Mr. Secretary, good morning.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning. It’s great to be with you.
QUESTION: Good to have you, sir. The Chinese have made you quite a target here, as I was just sharing with the listeners. And you say it’s because, well, all roads lead back to that virology lab in Wuhan.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So, we know this for sure. We know now that there’s been enormous global economic destruction and the loss of more than a quarter million lives – 70,000 of them here in the United States. This is a catastrophe of real proportions that emanated from Wuhan, China and originated there.
And we know that the Chinese Communist Party didn’t share information in a timely fashion. We know that they knew there were cases as certainly as early as December, maybe even earlier than that, and that they had doctors who were raising the red flag, saying hey, we got a problem, and they didn’t let them* speak. They kicked journalists out, all the things that authoritarian regimes do. As the President has said, had they behaved differently, there would be thousands more people still alive today and we’d have a lot less destruction to the global economy.
The Chinese Communist Party has a responsibility – it is ongoing – to share information in a transparent way. And they’re still, even today, not doing that.
QUESTION: And then they’re still trying to spread the propaganda. And the tentacles of China, sir, reach deeply into United States media, into social media, and other places. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about Russia, but on the world stage today I think it’s fair to say that China is the most dangerous adversary for the United States and for all Western governments. Do you agree with that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I do. The challenge that President Trump identified when he was campaigning back in 2016 was pretty clear. He singled out China as a threat to the American worker. It was most prominently discussed publicly in the trade context, the President saying hey, this isn’t fair, American workers are getting ripped off, and he aimed to create a fair and reciprocal trading system. We’re still working on that.
But all the dimensions, the challenges that China presents – the theft of American intellectual property from people in Michigan who come up with a good idea, build a business, and then have the Chinese Communist Party steal that and abscond with the wealth and resources that would have flowed from that good idea – those are unacceptable things, are things that the Trump Administration is working to push back against. All this long predates the challenge that this coronavirus now presents to the country.
QUESTION: Yeah. They come after us in technology, in military, in trade, in currency. We’re looking at a world where the – well, the economics have been turned upside down. We’re spending trillions of dollars to keep the American economy afloat. It’s happening across Europe as well. Thirty million Americans without jobs now. How do we deal with the Chinese going forward? Obviously, the President and yourself working on trade deals and tough negotiations leading up to this point, but where do we go from here?
SECRETARY POMPEO: You made a really good point. I think the whole world is now waking up. I think they’ve seen what President Trump has done and they’re waking up to the challenge, as well. The EU just the other day said that they had been naive with respect to the threat that China posed to Europeans. I think the whole world can now see that this regime, this authoritarian regime, is just different than we are.
This is democracy. Our government works to protect freedom, to secure our rights. Their government is very different than that. It imprisons a million people in the western country based just because of their religion. And we can see the challenge this presents to our kids and grandkids. And we’re determined. We’re going to do the right things by building up our military. We’re going to do the right things diplomatically. We’re going to try and get a better trade relationship with them.
In the end, the Chinse Communist Party will have to decide: Do they really want to participate as a member of civilized society, the nations that work towards better outcomes for people all across the world, or are they going to do what we’ve seen? We all know the history of the Soviet Union. Do they want to behave in a way that’s more consistent with what authoritarian regimes have done on this planet for an awfully long time? If they do, I know that President Trump will do the right thing to make sure we protect the American people.
QUESTION: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo here in the No Panic Zone on the Steve Gruber Show. Let me ask you about this: opening up the country. We’re underway now. We’ve got about a minute left here, sir. We’re underway, opening up. And I’m concerned when I see Bill de Blasio and others basically suspend the Constitution in pursuit of lockdowns and so forth. What is your feeling? Where do we go as far as opening the country up? How do we do it? And how do we do it quickly and safely?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So not exactly my lane. The Vice President’s task force is working on the domestic piece of this. But your point is well taken. The President has been clear. We’ve got to get people back working, doing the things that they all love. I was talking to some of my friends back in Kansas the other day. They’re anxious to get the kids back to school and go back to do what they love – working, taking care of their family, going to church.
I do have a role in this. We’re going to try and make sure that we can get airplanes back in the air, get – make sure the international commerce, so that when people want to sell goods to Europe, our famers want to sell things into Southeast Asia, that we have the capacity to do that as well. It means we’ve got to get our systems back turned on. And we are, throughout the administration, whether it’s our domestic team or my team here at the State Department, working to make sure we can do that.
QUESTION: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, I greatly appreciate the time today.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, sir. You have a wonderful day.