Gabriella Hoffman, Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is a towering figure.
Few public officials have had stints as CIA Director, U.S. congressman, and business owner. To supporters and detractors alike, he’s more formidable now that he’s out of office.
I recently met with Secretary Pompeo at Hudson Institute in downtown Washington, D.C., where he serves as a Distinguished Fellow, to speak with him about current events.
During our conversation, he discussed foreign policy, his successor Secretary Blinken’s performance thus far, President Biden’s War on Guns, and much more.
Assessing the Biden Doctrine
I asked Pompeo to assess his successor Secretary Antony Blinken’s tenure so far.
“They’ve had some good rhetoric on China, but I haven’t seen any follow through yet,” he responded. “And in the Middle East…it’s the same cast of characters from the previous eight years. They’re headed back down the same path, with respect to Iran, that will guarantee them a pathway to a nuclear weapon.”
With respect to Secretary Blinken waiving Nord Stream 2 sanctions, he didn’t hold back.
“The Russians want to build a pipeline so the Germans will be dependent upon them in times of trouble,” Pompeo said. “We [the Trump administration] prevented that from being concluded. This administration stopped only one pipeline. One in the United States, not Nord Stream 2. I mean, that is just crazy.”
Pompeo further conveyed his displeasure with their kowtowing to Russia.
“The very first action that this administration took, with respect to Russia, was to rejoin a treaty: the New START Treaty,” he said. “They re-entered that treaty, much to Vladimir Putin’s joy, in exchange for nothing.”
“They walked in and handed Vladimir Putin a gift almost on the first day of the administration.”
He listed how the Trump administration stood up to the Kremlin through aiding Ukranians with a defensive weapons system and requiring NATO countries to allot two percent of their GDP towards defense spending. He also believes the media purposely glossed over the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats, Nord Stream 2 opposition, and sanctions imposed on Russia across their four years.
“It is not a close call with who was tougher with respect to taking on the interest of Russia most seriously,” the former CIA Director noted. “I think they [the American people] can now see the contrast pretty sharply. And I think redounds to the benefit of President Trump in the work that we did.”
“Talk is cheap,” he said of the upcoming Putin-Biden Summit in Geneva, Switzerland. “Handshakes don’t replace interests. In the end, what matters is the outcomes that one gets.”
Pompeo Sounds Off on Biden’s War on Guns
Pompeo told me President Biden’s nomination of gun control advocate David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), is equally worrisome.
In his view, Chipman’s comments about semi-automatic Armalite Rifles (AR-15s) during his nomination hearing were “ignorant.”
He recommended the Biden administration instead focus on combating crime plaguing major cities across the country—not target law-abiding gun owners.
“What’s happening in our cities today across America, it saddens me,” lamented the former Trump Cabinet official. “There’s not a Monday morning you wake up and don’t read about shooting deaths in Chicago and New York City. Shootings in our big urban cores. This is where the administration should focus.”
Pompeo on Biden’s Budget and Targeting of Freelancers
I then asked Pompeo his thoughts on President Biden’s proposed $6 trillion budget and the Hyde Amendment’s exclusion.
“The Hyde Amendment has been something that everyone has accepted as normative. All the fights about protecting the unborn that we have in the United States, everyone has acknowledged that taxpayer money ought not go to underwrite abortions — not to pay for a single abortion,” he noted.
“We in the Trump administration made that very clear domestically. I worked on this around the world, as well, making sure that taxpayer money didn’t go to fund abortions in places outside of the United States. We were focused—we were determined to protect every unborn person in every way that we possibly could.”
More broadly speaking, he suggested Biden’s budget isn’t about American greatness but is “a budget aimed at making us more socialist. More like Europe with a big state apparatus; more people dependent on the United States government for their livelihood.”
The former businessman, who ran two small businesses before entering politics, is also aware of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act)’s potential to undo right-to-work laws and displace upwards of 59 million Americans.
“As [for] this issue of employees and independent contractors and freelancers: If you look at American history, most of the businesses that have generated so much prosperity and so much greatness have started really small,” he said of freelancing.
“Without exception, I hope that American innovation will continue to reside in these little places.”
Regarding his political future and role in the conservative movement, Secretary Pompeo coyly told me: “I don’t know where I’ll play a role.”
He elaborated, “I’ve been in this fight for a long time. I intend to stay at it for a little while longer so long as the Good Lord gives me a place to do it. And we’ll see what happens.”
As for serving in the Trump administration, Pompeo has no regrets.
“The policies that we had for these four years were good,” he remarked. “We never got it perfect. No one ever does and perfectly right every day. But they were really good. And when I say good, they were good for the American people [and] for ordinary Americans who wanted that next opportunity in life.”