Interview With Andy Hooser of The Voice of Reason, KQAM
Secretary of State
QUESTION: Welcome back in to “The Voice of Reason.” Thirty-two minutes past the hour. A little bit different than how our bottom-of-the-hour news goes, but I’m really excited and honored to have him on the show. I know he’s got limited time to be on the program, but we’re absolutely honored and thrilled to have him on here, especially on a local market, but he’s our former congressman for the 4th Congressional District. He is former director of the CIA and he is currently U.S. Secretary of State. Mr. Mike Pompeo is on the line with us here.
Mr. Secretary, what an honor to have you on the show, my friend. How you doing?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Andy, it’s great to be back with you. I hope you’re doing well. It’s wonderful to be on the show.
QUESTION: I’m doing great. Oh, it is so great to have you back on the show, and I really appreciate you reaching out and wanting to come on here. I have to ask you, so far with – first off, congratulations on everything that you’ve been through and everything that’s going on right now. It is such an honor to have you up there representing us in the way that you are. How are we in – across the world right now? As a representation of the United States, how are we standing among the rest of the world right now?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Andy, I appreciate that, and thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it. Susan and I miss Wichita, we miss Kansas, we miss our Shockers.
SECRETARY POMPEO: But we have been incredibly privileged to get this opportunity to serve in President Trump’s administration, and frankly, in these now – goodness – coming up on two years of this administration, America is in a better place. It’s more secure today than it was when we took office, whether it’s the work that we’ve done to try and reduce the threat in North Korea or the work that we’ve done to try and create a better set of conditions in the Middle East and tamp down and respond to the threat from Iran. All across the world, America is respected in ways that I think are due in large part to the good work that President Trump and his team have done.
QUESTION: That’s really funny, because the media doesn’t report it that way. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, Andy, one does their work, one goes about their mission, and time will judge the caliber of the work that was completed. I’m confident that history will reflect well on the work that we have accomplished.
QUESTION: Absolutely. Well, again, we feel safe with knowing what you’ve done, I mean, from CIA director and the security that you brought there to now Secretary of State. I mean, the very first job and the mission that you had – I mean, you were already over across the world, meeting with the president of North Korea, with Kim Jong-un, or as Donald Trump likes to say at times, “Little Rocket Man,” which I found quite comical. How are the conversations going over there right now?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So progress is being made. It’s going to be a long set of discussions. It’s a very complicated issue. But our mission is very clear here at the State Department. It is to deliver for the President on the commitments that he made and that Chairman Kim made. And when I saw Chairman Kim last – it’s been now a handful of weeks – he continues to make the commitment to allowing verification of the denuclearization of his country, and we, in turn, have continued to make the commitment that we will provide a better future for the people of North Korea. That is, the world will join together and allow a brighter future for that country and its people.
It’s going to be a long road, but while we’re doing that the American people should rest assured. We haven’t had a missile test; we haven’t had a nuclear test; we’ve managed to get the remains of U.S. service members who’d been killed on the peninsula returned. For those families, that is a big deal and for our country, that’s a big deal too.
QUESTION: It is something that’s been tried for so long and it’s never happened, and yet it seems to be happening now. We’re on the right path. I know it’s going to be a rocky road. Is there a timeframe for any of this or is it just kind of we take it day by day right now?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, it’s – there’s no timeframe. We don’t want to set a date certain. But it’s more than day by day in the sense that there is a plan. There is an understanding about how it is we hope that we can proceed. But that framework is still being built out and discussions continue.
QUESTION: Absolutely. Real quick, I know that you’re short on time but we’ve got to ask as well. The big news has been lately in Saudi Arabia with the journalist and President Trump has talked about our relationship with Saudi Arabia. What is our position right now and what’s the latest in that situation?
SECRETARY POMPEO: President Trump’s been very clear, as have I. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi is a heinous act that’s terrible and the United States has already acted to hold senior officials in Saudi Arabia accountable – 17 individuals placed on very, very serious sanctions for their involvement. That is, America has evidence that they were involved and we took action in response to that. But we’re determined to make sure that the American people are safe, and part of that is making sure we have good partners and stability in the Middle East, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an important part of that.
They ensure that our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines that are working there are well taken care of. They’ve worked with us diligently to push back against the world’s largest state sponsor of terror in Iran. I could go on. The list of places where we have worked together is long. And frankly, during our time in office Saudi Arabia has moved forward on important human rights issues as well. These are all good things, and most importantly, all good things for the American people, which President Trump always puts at the top of his list.
QUESTION: Sure. Well, and our allies have always been important to us, and as we try and curb the way the world acts at times when it comes to human rights issues and other problems, that if we’re able to maintain that relationship but yet try to push them and nudge them in the right direction. It seems like we’re going in that right direction. Little by little, but it seems to be going there.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, that’s right. Look, it is often the case that America can influence human rights issues around the world and put them in a better place. Not every country shares our value set. Our mission statement is to make sure that the American people are safe and secure, and at the same time to do everything that we can that human beings around the world also are treated with the dignity and the way that, frankly, the people of Kansas understand we ought to treat each other.
QUESTION: Absolutely. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. I know that you’re short on time, but any plans to get back here to the Wichita area for the holidays this year?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m not going to make it back for the holidays but I am trying to find a Shocker game that fits my schedule, and I’m going to try and sneak on through to get to one. I’m not sure it’ll happen, but Susan and I sure hope that it does.
QUESTION: Well, hopefully, and I know the Shockers actually were up in the White House just a few days ago or a week or so ago and you got to visit them, and they were really shocked that President Trump got to show up as well.
SECRETARY POMPEO: It was really great fun. The President was very generous with his time. And for those young people and the coaches, a chance to be in the Oval Office to meet with the President was truly a lifetime treat. They got to see this incredibly – this incredibly important place in American history, and I think it was a wonderful time and I was thrilled to be able to give them an opportunity to do that.
QUESTION: Absolutely. Well, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, it’s an honor to talk to you again, my friend. Thank you so much for thinking of the show and wanting to come on here briefly with the little time that you have. We really appreciate that. Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Andy, thanks to you. Happy Thanksgiving to you. Happy Thanksgiving to all your listeners as well.
QUESTION: Hey, thank you very much. We look forward to chatting with you again here soon.
SECRETARY POMPEO: You bet, sir. So long.
QUESTION: Hey, very good, sir. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo right there.