Interview With Pete Mundo of the Pete Mundo Morning Show

Interview
Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State
Via Teleconference
November 21, 2018


QUESTION: Let’s do it here on 710 KCMO, and welcome in the Secretary of State, that is Mike Pompeo, joining us here on the line. And, Mr. Secretary, we appreciate a few minutes. I know it’s a busy time; it’s always a busy time for you, but --

SECRETARY POMPEO: Pete, good morning. It’s good to talk to you.

QUESTION: Good to have you on. We appreciate it. Well, let’s start off with what’s going on here with the Khashoggi murder. President comes out; he’s received some criticism for his handling of this. He said it’s all about an “America first” policy. There appears to be some pushback in the Republican Party, Lindsey Graham and some others saying at the very least we have to look into sanctions. What do you think the best way to handle the Saudis in the wake of this CIA report as well?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, we’ve been very clear. We’re going to hold those who conducted this murder accountable. We’ve already done so. We’ve sanctioned 17 people, some of them very senior in the Saudi government. We are going to make sure that America always stands for human rights. We’ve watched the Saudis actually move in that direction during our time in office as well. It’s not an unblemished record, but there certainly have been steps forward.

And President Trump has made clear since he began to run for office that the most important thing for him was to ensure that America was successful and that we protected the American people. And the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been an important national security partner to the United States, pushing back against the murderous regime in Iran that actually presents real risk to the American people, and we are determined to make sure that the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia stays strong so that we can protect America.

QUESTION: So, Mr. Secretary, what’s your – what’s your response then to Lindsey Graham and his ilk that say that we have strong and we will have strong bipartisan support for serious – or more serious sanctions than what you’re talking about? How are you going to ease his concerns and others like him in the Republican Party?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, the President is happy to consider whatever members of Congress share with him or legislation that’s presented to him, and I think the President was very clear in his statement yesterday. To the extent they have good ideas that further American national security, this administration will be happy to support them.

QUESTION: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joining us here on 710 KCMO. Pete Mundo with you. Mr. Secretary, let’s dive into North Korea. Obviously, some rumblings about maybe an early-2019 meeting, another summit between Kim Jong-un and President Trump. Where do we stand on that relationship and what might be next between these two countries?

SECRETARY POMPEO: This has been an incredibly important part of President Trump’s foreign policy agenda. Among the greatest risks to the American people when we took office was the capacity of North Korea to fire missiles that would be incredibly destructive to the United States. We now have got the North Koreans not conducting missile tests. They’ve not conducted a nuclear test in a long time. We continue to negotiate with them to get them to implement what Chairman Kim, who I’ve had the chance to meet with on a number of occasions, to get Chairman Kim to complete the commitment that he made to fully and verifiably denuclearize North Korea. This would be great for America, great for the region, and wonderful for the North Korean people as well, and I do hope that there’ll be a summit between the two leaders early in 2019.

QUESTION: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is with us. So let’s get into something. Obviously, you represented the state of Kansas in Congress, and now, being the Secretary of State, a lot of what you do, people say it’s just so confusing to me. So for the average Kansan, for the average Missourian like us, we’re sitting here, we’re following you, we’re seeing you on TV, hearing you on the radio. What you’re doing day to day, how does that have an effect on our day-to-day lives?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, it’s a great question. So I did; I had the privilege to represent southcentral Kansas for a handful of years. It was a wonderful time and I hope I served Kansans well. Today our mission set as I run the world’s finest diplomatic corps is to deliver for the American people a set of outcomes with our allies that keep Americans safe, whether that’s work that we’re doing along our southern border, work we’re doing in the Middle East to ensure there’s stability in the Middle East, building our relationships with partners, working in Asia. These places all present risk to the American people and our continued welfare and capacity to grow our economy so that families in Kansas can live the lives that they want to, and that’s our task.

And I guess I’d add to this we also have a lot of folks from Kansas who choose to serve in our armed forces. The State Department’s role is to make sure that we need to use them, to put those young men and women in harm’s way just as little as is humanly possible while keeping America safe.

QUESTION: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is with us. Well, Mr. Secretary, appreciate a few minutes. Big Thanksgiving plans or are you going to be – a chance to take it easy here?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m going to get at least a day, I hope, if the world permits.

QUESTION: All right.

SECRETARY POMPEO: I hope you and your listeners all have a Happy Thanksgiving as well, sir.

QUESTION: All right. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Pete. You bet.

QUESTION: Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

SECRETARY POMPEO: So long.