Interview With Andrew Yates of Bott Radio Network

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

QUESTION: Good afternoon – or good morning, rather, Secretary of State Pompeo. This is Andrew Yates at Bott Radio Network.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning, Andrew. How are you?

QUESTION: I’m very well, sir. What a pleasure to get to speak with you. I understand you’re in the state of Kansas today to support entrepreneurship in the United States.

SECRETARY POMPEO: I am. I’m here leading a State Department team that – we’ll be speaking to entrepreneurs here in Kansas, innovators, creators, manufacturers who want to do business around the world or who want to find partners and investors from around the world. I’m going to share with them how the State Department can help them, can facilitate that, can help them grow their businesses. It’s a central part of American security, having a growing American economy. We want to be part of that, helping Kansas be successful today.

QUESTION: I want you to know that our listeners are so very pleased about your support for the cause of religious liberty around the world, and you’re about to go on an overseas trip in the Middle East of which that topic will be a part.

SECRETARY POMPEO: President Trump has made religious freedom, religious liberty a pillar of American national security and our work on behalf of freedom and liberty all around the world. I leave here today, I’ll travel to Kuwait and then on to Israel and then to Lebanon. In each of those places we’ll talk about the first freedom, the freedom to practice and worship and express one’s faith in the way that one desires. It’s an important part of what President Trump is trying to do, and I’m privileged to be his Secretary of State trying to help lead that charge all across the world.

QUESTION: Our listeners have responded very quickly about putting the U.S. embassy back into Jerusalem.

SECRETARY POMPEO: It was the right decision, and President Trump was bold in doing so. I’ll get a chance to see that facility, to meet with team members from the State Department who work in that facility. I’m very much looking forward to it. It’s the first time I will have been there since that embassy was moved.

QUESTION: There is a slight problem in America where young Americans are not quite aware of the opportunity to serve in government, and you’re trying to do something about that.

SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s one of my missions here today as well. Look, it’s often the case that the State Department hires folks from New York and Boston and from California. I want to make sure that young kids from the heartland – from Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri – all know that there’s this great opportunity for young people interested in service, for young people who are interested in developing skill sets that – working all across the world. State Department offers a great opportunity, and being an American diplomat is an incredible privilege. And I know we have lots of talented young people here in this area who can do that job well, and I want to invite them to come to our website, check it, see if it might not be for them.

QUESTION: What’s the website, Secretary?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So you go to and you go look up careers, and you’ll see jobs ranging from engineer to linguist to you name it. We have nearly every skill set here at the State Department, and we’re looking for talented people who are leaving school, done with their degrees, and want to come be American diplomats.

QUESTION: All right. And I have to ask you: Are you sure you’re not going to run for senator in Kansas?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. If President Trump continues to ask me to be the Secretary of State, then I’m darned focused on that.

QUESTION: I had to ask the question, because you know I’m going to talk to a guy, I might as well see if he’s really sure he doesn’t want to be a senator.

SECRETARY POMPEO: (Laughter.) My privilege to do what I’m doing and I’m enjoying it. And I hope I’m doing reasonably well.

QUESTION: One final question, Secretary Pompeo. How do you think the last summit with North Korea went?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So we made some progress but not nearly as much as we would have hoped. This has been a long struggle, now decades long. We’ve been at it for a little over a year. We’ve got them to stop firing missiles. We’ve had them to stop engaging in nuclear tests. We’ve got some of our hostages home, but now the task of getting North Korea to denuclearize. And we’ve made a little bit of progress. We are determined to achieve the global national security imperative of getting North Korea to denuclearize.

QUESTION: Secretary, it’s a pleasure as always to get to speak with you. And welcome back home, if you will.


QUESTION: And enjoy your time in Kansas. I spoke to your advance folks and I told them there were three barbecue restaurants you had to go to; you’ve already been to one, so – well, you may get to try some more while you’re in town.

SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m going to try to hit the trifecta. It’s wonderful to be back home.

QUESTION: (Laughter.) Thank you, Secretary. God bless you.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. So long. Bless you, too.

QUESTION: We look forward to talking to you. Bye-bye.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, sir. So long.