MR HURSEY: Good afternoon. My name is Lee Hursey. I’m the State Commander in the Department of Kansas. I’d like to introduce from the end of the table to my right would be our State Adjutant/Quartermaster, Herb Schwartzkopf; our Auxiliary President of the Department of Kansas, Gail Vance; and also I’d like to introduce and I’m pleased to introduce our Secretary of State, the Honorable Michael R. Pompeo. Thanks for being here. (Applause.)
Before we get started now, Mr. Secretary, I’d like to give you a little plaque that we made up: “For our appreciation for what you’ve done for the veterans and citizens of the United States, on this day of July 22nd, 2019,” from the Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars and its Auxiliary Department in Kansas. Thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. Here we go. (Applause.)
MR HURSEY: Also, on behalf of the Department of Kansas, we have a Department of Kansas State Commanders t-shirt.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Oh my gosh, that’s awesome. (Laughter.)
MR HURSEY: And you can wear it every day on your way for the veterans. (Applause.)
SECRETARY POMPEO: That’s wonderful. (Applause.)
MR HURSEY: I now present you with the Commander’s state pin and his – my challenge coin, and to remember us as we’re here in the Department of Kansas.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you very much. Thank you.
MR HURSEY: Thank you. (Applause.)
I’d like to introduce the Honorable Michael Pompeo.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. (Applause.) Can you hear me in the back?
SECRETARY POMPEO: All right, good. I’ll try it without that. I didn’t bring any gifts. (Laughter.)
MR HURSEY: (Inaudible) Secretary of State (inaudible). (Laughter.)
SECRETARY POMPEO: So this is just more fun than you can shake a stick at. I do lots of things lots of days; not always do I get a chance to be with friends that are smiling at me. (Laughter.) So thank you for that.
Just a couple things. I’ll talk about whatever you all would like to talk about, but a couple things. I know some of you. I’ve been in parades with some of you. I’ve been in beer halls. I just drank Diet Coke. To the media in the back, I just drank Diet Coke. (Laughter.) And I love what you do, your service to America. And I hope that you can see in the way that President Trump is leading our team, and I’m leading our State Department team, how seriously we take what we do; that if we get it right, if diplomats can get it right, like they did when I was a soldier, right? We caused the Soviet Union to collapse and I never had to go do what I did in training at Grafenwoehr. I never had to go fight the Soviet Union. If we get it right, if diplomacy can be successful, we can save an awful lot of young men and women from having to go to harm’s way.
We need the Department of Defense. It provides me the backstop. If for some reason they don’t want to do what we’re trying to get them to do, they know that we have a powerful deterrent force that can truly keep peace if we have to. You all have lived that. Many of your family members have lived that, too. I remind my team, when I see the Secretary of Defense or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford, we work hand-in-glove to make sure we’re delivering security for the people of the United States of America.
And it’s pretty cool for me. Susan and I don’t get back to Kansas very much. Frankly, we thought we’d get back more when I became CIA director. Susan had lived in Kansas all her life. The first time she’d ever lived out of Kansas when I – when I was in Congress, I came back every weekend, and she moved out to Virginia, and we miss it. And we said, “We’re going to get back a lot.” It just doesn’t work out that way.
But we have friends and family and church and everything that we love back in the place that you all live, and so we’re mindful of the faces that I see here in front of me today. Every time – every day when I wake up, I think about the people that I was privileged to serve as a member of Congress and the people that I know from back home, my friends, and it gives me energy. They say, “How do you travel so much and not get tired?” And the answer is really simple: I think of you. I think of the people who we’re doing our damnedest to keep safe and secure.
So thank you for what you’ve done, the service you’ve given to the United States of America. I’m happy to talk about anything or take a few pictures, or whatever you all would like to do.