QUESTION: All right, it’s 7:35 now, Steve and Ted. And U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is going to be giving a speech in Manhattan today. We are fortunate enough to have the Secretary with us this morning. Good morning, sir. Nice to have you with us.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Steve, it is great to be back on the show with you. Hope you’re doing well.
QUESTION: Well, you get a break from being in Washington. You get to come back to good old Kansas, huh?
SECRETARY POMPEO: It is remarkable. I flew in last night. It was wonderful to be back home.
QUESTION: Now, are you going to be – you’re going to be in Manhattan today, right? What are you going – are you going to talk about Iran? Is that the focus?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, sir. I’m here to give a speech in the Landon Lecture Series, a very cool deal. I’ve come to lots of Landon Lectures in my life with great leaders that had a chance to do this, and now I get this privilege, so it’s a lot of fun.
I’m actually going to focus today on the core rights that we as Americans have, our unalienable rights, and how they fit into American foreign policy and why – you know, Steve, sometimes we take them for granted. We’re here – talking about free speech. We can say whatever we want. We can practice our faith in any way that we choose. That is unique in recorded history, and I want to talk about making sure that we preserve those rights. I’m going to be at K-State talking to a group of young people about that. And then I want to talk, too, about how that fits into making sure that we protect Americans all around the world.
QUESTION: Yeah, and what’s interesting, I just thought of this. You talk with people, some people we’ve got problems with, like Iran maybe and China, and you talk with them. Is there – sometimes do you feel like – because they come from a whole different mindset when it comes to liberty, civil liberties and so forth. Is there sometimes a little block there that they don’t understand what you’re talking about?
SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s the case that this an exceptional nation that we’re privileged to be part of, and these value sets that we have, this idea of human dignity and protecting every individual through these ideas of democracy aren’t as widely held as we wish that they were. One of the missions that I have as Secretary of State is to increase the number of places that see these as good value sets to protect their people and, in doing so, deliver for the American people and keep them more safe and secure. It is the case I spend a lot of time in some pretty dark places, but our efforts, the State Department’s efforts, are to bring light to those places.
QUESTION: You were in the service and served overseas, I know. And my son, of course, served overseas in the service as well, and he always said you got to go overseas before you can really appreciate what we have here in the U.S.
SECRETARY POMPEO: First of all, thanks for your son’s service and for all those folks who are – who have put on the uniform. I think that’s right. I think it’s easy to sit in America and forget how privileged we are, how blessed we are in this great country. And you see it when you travel to lots of places that you might not even expect it, where people’s lives are different. They don’t have those unalienable rights protected in the same way that we do. And it reminds you, you can never take it for granted here, too, Steve.
QUESTION: Okay. You served as our U.S. representative here in the fourth district for several years, and I know you know what’s on the top of people’s news agenda today for some folks, and they’re talking about you running for the U.S. Senate, about Pat Roberts is going to not run this next time around. And I know you’ve – I’m going to give you a chance. Just tell us right now. I know you – what day you’re going to kick of your campaign and who’s going to be your campaign manager and so forth. Go ahead.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Steve, that’s why I always love coming on your show. Look, I’m focused on my mission. I’m serving America and working on President Trump’s team to deliver America’s foreign policy. That’s what I’m focused on. I do see the noise. I’m flattered when people say Mike will be a good United States senator representing Kansas. Susan and I love this place. We miss our Shockers. We miss our church there in Wichita and all our family and friends. But I’m doing something that I consider an incredible privilege, an opportunity of a lifetime to lead the State Department, and I’m focused on doing that each and every day.
QUESTION: Okay. So you don’t really have to make a decision till next June, so I’ll tell you, I’ll ask you again next week. How’s that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Fair enough, Steve.
QUESTION: (Laughter.) Listen, you’re going to be up in Manhattan, a great place up there. We love Kansas State and Manhattan. Have a great day, and we appreciate you spending some time with us this morning.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Bless you, Steve. Thank you. Say hi to Ted for me, too.
QUESTION: He’s right here.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Hi.
QUESTION: Hi. Thanks for being on with us. We appreciate it.
SECRETARY POMPEO: You bet. So long, guys.
QUESTION: Thank you.