POMPEO: Good morning, Hugh. How are you today?
Q: I am terrific. I’m over the Pittsburgh plague of laryngitis so I’m so glad that that got done in time.
POMPEO: No, Hugh. The truth of the matter is this has been consistent with the strategy that we’ve had since the beginning of this administration to recognize the competitive nature of the relationship between our two countries, and as China has taken actions that have
Q: Secretary Pompeo, you’re a West Point man. Earlier this hour, I had West Point General Stanley McChrystal, retired, on and he talked about the Treasure Fleet of Zheng He and how President Xi is now using that as a rhetorical device about Chinese expansionism across
POMPEO: I think if you go look at President Xi’s stated intentions, you can clearly see that China has a plan that is different than the one that
Q: Two more specific questions about China: You are a Secretary of State known for an emphasis on religious liberty around the world, not just at home. The United Nations
POMPEO: These camps are clearly a Chinese effort to reduce the capacity for Chinese people to exercise their religious freedom. We’ve seen it in many different forms. We’ve seen it being more difficult for churches to put crosses on the roofs of their buildings. We’ve
Q: Now, the other thing that worries me about China is their cyber capabilities. A cyber Pearl Harbor is best prevented, in my view, by dispersed weapons of response and a known will to retaliate. Have we done the former, and is there any doubt about our
POMPEO: There should be no doubt about the latter. We have the capability to respond and we have laid out a strategy in order to respond, and the President has made clear that if a response is required we will take one. And with respect
Q: I think the elections are going to prove that the China policy has been very expertly articulated and will be endorsed by the electorate. I think
POMPEO: Not much news. We continue to learn a
Q: Now, it is very good and proper that that’s happening. At the same time, some commentators have broadened this murder into the opportunity to attack Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Yemen. Can you explain to the
POMPEO: Hugh, first the number of ballistic missiles that have left Yemen headed for Saudi Arabia and the Emirates is dozens of times higher than the 36 that you identified.
POMPEO: Second, those missiles are coming from and the hardware and
Think, Hugh, if one of these manages to hit
Q: Now, the export of extraterritorial violence, always condemned by us, and as it should be, as
POMPEO: It’s not even close nor is it
Q: Well, I see the ongoing wake for the JCPOA everywhere. Ben Rhodes – I like to call him the Metternich of the network I work for, MSNBC, the Metternich of MSNBC – is always quick to blast you and the
POMPEO: I don’t spend much time thinking about Ben Rhodes. I spend a lot of time thinking about making sure that America is secure and our interests are protected.
Q: I am counting on a week from Tuesday being a referendum on that as well as China. And then finally, not as well known, but Governor Rick Scott was my guest this morning. He tells me that Venezuelan expats and the Nicaraguan
POMPEO: So Maduro
Q: Now very soon Brazil will be out of a period of political instability. They’ll have a new president. He is a man --
POMPEO: This weekend, yes.
POMPEO: You mention Venezuela and Nicaragua together. I do think that the alignment of the new leaders in South America and Central America are determined to see these nations that are amongst their neighbors behaving in ways that are antithetical to
Q: And a couple of last questions. Brexit. It just seems to me that the EU is being irrational here, Mr. Secretary, and may force – and I even fear a revival of
POMPEO: This is a discussion between the EU and Britain. We are very hopeful they will continue to have
Q: And the last question goes to the United Nations. We’ve got a vacancy there and I’m sure you’ll find a right person, but I’ve never been a fan of having the ambassador in the cabinet. It has always
POMPEO: No. That’ll be the President’s decision, both with respect to whether it will be a cabinet member and who it will be. Lots of work has been done in that regard and I’m
Q: And you used to meet with the President daily, Mr. Secretary. Now you’re on the road a lot. How much time do you get to spend and talk with him
POMPEO: Quite a bit. I certainly don’t see him each day in the same way I did in my previous role, but I certainly talk to him every day and I’ll even be over there today in the middle of the day to spend about an hour with him
Q: Well I hope Iran is at the top of that list. Mr. Secretary, thanks for your time this morning and we look forward to having you back, and I hope that Tuesday next brings a vote of confidence in our China and