Interview With Jake Bowles of KFDI News

Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State
Via Teleconference
March 18, 2019

QUESTION: Good morning, Mr. Secretary. This is Jake Bowles with KFDI News in Wichita.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Hey, Jake. Good to talk to you again.

QUESTION: You too. Tell me what brings you back to Kansas today.

SECRETARY POMPEO: So, here for a State Department-led global seminar on entrepreneurship. The State Department’s first client is the American people, and one of the things we do is help businesses all around America, and I wanted to come to the heartland and spread this message too. It helps businesses around America attract investors from overseas and sell their products there as well. And so we’re coming with the message of how we can help explain to entrepreneurs the things we do and how it is they can take their business to the next level if they want to begin to engage in international markets.

QUESTION: And you started a business yourself before you got into politics, right?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I did, and we faced this issue too, and sometimes it was difficult and tricky to know exactly how to get started in a particular country. And the State Department is available and capable of helping entrepreneurs and business leaders take their company to markets they want to address. And so it’s an important day. A lot of fun to be back in Kansas, too.

QUESTION: Outside of the summit today, what are you currently focused on as Secretary of State?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, goodness, mission one is of course keeping the American people safe. Broadly, we spend a lot of time working on North Korea, as I think people have seen the threat from nuclear weapons systems there is real and we want to take down that risk to the maximum extent possible. We also see that Middle East instability and the terrorism that rises out of that can affect us right here in the United States, and so I spend a fair amount of time and, indeed, will be traveling to the Middle East when I leave Kansas here today.

QUESTION: What would you say to farmers in Kansas who might be worried about the trade deal with China?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I remind them I know the business. I represented south central Kansas, one of the most glorious agriculture districts in all of the United States of America. I remind them of the history of Chinese abuse of them. They stole our intellectual property, they stole seed trades, they sold[1] billions and billions of dollars from Kansas farmers, and President Trump is determined to fix that. And they’ve closed the markets. We couldn't sell our crops there. If we wanted to sell the parts that I made when I worked in Kansas or take Chinese investment, I couldn't do that. We’re going to fix those things. It’s a hard-fought negotiation. I’m confident we’ll get to a good outcome, not only for Kansas farmers but for all of America.

QUESTION: You mentioned nuclear powers earlier. What are your thoughts on how the summit with North Korea went in Hanoi?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So we made some progress, although not as much as the world demanded and as wish – we wish we would have. We’ve been at this now just under a year. We’ve gotten so far to date of getting Chairman Kim not to take missile tests, not to conduct nuclear testing. We’ve gotten some hostages back. That’s all good. We’re continuing to work on that, but the significant steps toward denuclearization have not yet happened, and our mission is to convince Chairman Kim to live up to the promises that he made to the world back in Singapore in June of last year.

QUESTION: Do you think that can happen? Do you think progress can be made?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, of course. I’m convinced that it’s possible. I’m convinced Chairman Kim wants to drive in that direction. We need to continue to work and negotiate to get that outcome on behalf of the entire world. Remember, Jake, it’s not just the United States that has sanctioned North Korea, it’s the world through UN Security Council – a series of UN Security Council resolutions. The whole world understands the threat that North Korea poses, and the whole world will rejoice and the North Korean people will benefit when those nuclear weapons go away.

QUESTION: How is your work as Secretary of State different than your work as the CIA director, and how does that all compare to your work representing Wichita as a congressman?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So three very different jobs, three very different customers. As a member of Congress, I represented almost three-quarters of a million people in south central Kansas trying to do what it is was in their best interest. As CIA director, my mission was to provide facts and data to U.S. policymakers, to collect intelligence in a way that helped them shape good decisions on behalf of America. And my role now is very different, it’s much more public, but the mission set is the same: to be part of a national security team, delivering security and safety for the American people on behalf of President Trump and America.

QUESTION: And I know you’ve heard this question a lot lately with Senator Roberts retiring: Do you have any plans to run for Senate?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I don’t have any plans to do anything except be the Secretary of State as long as President Trump will permit me to continue to do so.

QUESTION: That is all the questions I had. Is there anything you wanted to mention before we end the call?

SECRETARY POMPEO: No, Jake. Thanks. That’s it. It’s wonderful to be back in Kansas, and thanks for giving me a few minutes on your show this morning.

QUESTION: Thank you so much, Mr. Secretary. Have a good day.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Jake. You too. So long.

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[1] stole