Exclusive — Mike Pompeo: Conservatives Want a President ‘Who’s Willing to Break Glass When That’s What’s Required’

Matthew Perdie, Jack Knudsen

ORLANDO, Florida — Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Breitbart News exclusively that conservatives are looking for a fighter as their commander in chief.

“I think that’s right,” Pompeo said when Breitbart News’s Matt Boyle asked if conservatives are looking for a fighter as president. “It’s what I saw when I ran for Congress for the first time in the big Tea Party class of 2010. They want someone who hasn’t fallen in love with the city of Washington and all that comes with it. They want someone who’s willing to break glass when that’s what’s required. They want someone who understands this is a righteous founding of our nation and that America is the greatest nation in the history of civilization and that we have a duty to continue to preserve that. And they’re looking for someone who’s willing to lay it all on the line to go do that, to take the brickbat, to take whatever may come and demonstrate leadership in spite of any resistance they may receive. I think the next set of leaders, not just whoever becomes the next president, but whether it’s members of Congress, city council members, school board members, all across America have a responsibility to do that right and if they do the American people will respect that and vote for them.”

Pompeo sat with Breitbart News for an exclusive on-camera interview Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) hosted by the American Conservative Union (ACU). His interview came right after he walked off the stage from his speech, during which he blasted the swamp in Washington, D.C., and touted successes during his time working for now former President Donald Trump, first as CIA director, then as Secretary of State. Pompeo, widely considered a potential successor to Trump atop the “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) America First movement, finished fourth in CPAC’s straw poll of candidates in a GOP presidential primary, without Trump, at 7 percent. He came in just behind Donald Trump Jr., the third place vote-getter at 8 percent, and a few points behind South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, on whose home turf of central Florida this year’s CPAC occurred, came in a towering first place with 43 percent.

Pompeo did not rule out a possible White House bid but said his focus for the next two years is on defeating the House Democrat majority and retiring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi once and for all.

“Goodness knows,” Pompeo said of a potential presidential run. “I’m going to spend the next two years trying to make sure that the House of Representatives doesn’t remain in the thrall of Speaker Pelosi. I’m not leaving the fight. I care about these things. I’ve been so blessed. America has been so great to me that I’m not walking away from trying to make sure that America is just a little bit better and more secure every day.”

This year’s CPAC came at a rough time for Trump supporters and the conservative movement. Democrats have complete control in Washington for the first time in over a decade. The last time they secured majorities in both chambers of Congress and the White House was 2008. But now, Democrat Joe Biden occupies the Oval Office and his vice president, Kamala Harris, is perhaps one of the most radical leftists to ever serve in the position. Meanwhile, Democrats retained their majority in the U.S. House — albeit a much slimmer one after GOP gains that defied expectations cutting into their control of the lower chamber — and took a slim majority that Harris’s tie-breaking vote gives them in the deadlocked 50-50 U.S. Senate.

Pompeo said that the left wants conservatives to make a “mistake” by backtracking off the successes of the Trump years, but that Trump supporters need to “stay the course” on the America First agenda. Nonetheless, he admits he is “candid” that the next four years with Biden and Harris in the White House will “test’ conservatives and Republicans.

“The mistake that the liberals want us to make is they want us to move away from our ideas and our principles, the things that generated so much good in the past four years,” Pompeo said. “We can’t do that. We’ve got to stay the course. We’ve got to continue to press. I’m mindful — I was a congressman — we won seats all across America. We have a bigger number in the House of Representatives. But I’m also candid. This four years is going to test us. We’ve got to be successful in 2022. We’ve got to win elections all across America and take away at least one job — from Nancy Pelosi — and then stay true to our principles, stay in the fight, continue to put America First at the forefront of everything we do. When we do that, we will prevail.”

Pompeo’s interview came ahead of Trump’s speech on Sunday, where the former president would later lay out many of his policy successes and also expose early failures of the Biden administration. The former president’s first public address since leaving office also left open the question of whether he will run again, but made clear his intention to remain active in GOP politics across the country in a big way. Asked about what he was looking forward to hearing from Trump, Pompeo said he would be excited to hear Trump recite his administration’s policy wins — which Trump did.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with President Trump these past four years, first as his CIA director and then as his Secretary of State,” Pompeo said. “I expect what you’ll hear tomorrow is a recitation of the good that our team did with his leadership. He’ll talk about why it worked. He’ll talk about the people in America that we care so deeply about. He’ll remind all of us that 70 plus million people continue to support the ideas that we put forward these past four years and so I think you will hear an awful lot about that. As for what he’ll say about his future, I’ll look forward to hearing that along with everybody else.”

Pompeo also laid out the serious threats of the Chinese Communist Party to the United States of America. He said, too, that he does “worry” when he hears Biden dismiss concerns with Chinese human rights abuses as just cultural “norms.” Pompeo noted that the Trump team totally changed the way the world looked at China, and woke up the planet to the threat of a rising Beijing. He asserted the “single greatest threat” to America’s future is Chinese dictator Xi Jinping and his fellow Communists in Beijing.

“We talked about it because it really mattered to America,” Pompeo said. “The single greatest threat to my kids and everyone’s children and grandchildren is the threat that Xi Jinping and his Communist fellow travelers will continue the way that they did for 40 years — this is not partisan — the way that they did for 40 years to run over the United States of America. It took our leadership, it took our team, to turn that tide and to recognize this threat and to confront it. When we did, we made real progress. To your point, I do worry. I worry when I hear President Biden say this is just differences in norms. Well, this is not just differences in norms. The Chinese Communist Party wants to undermine our democracy. They want to challenge the very way we exist today. They are intent on doing that and every leader has a responsibility to confront that every place we find it.”

Pompeo added when pressed further on China that he believes the United States will eventually emerge successful from this strife with Beijing. He said that while the Chinese Communist Party has engaged in an impressive influence campaign that was able to “infiltrate” American universities and cultural institutions in a broad subversive push to alter American and western perceptions of China under its rule, Beijing’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic has opened eyes the world over to its dishonesty and malign intentions. He even went so far as to say the Chinese Communist Party “covered it up” regarding the virus’s origins in Wuhan, China, and how they knew it spread from person-to-person.

“They got a good run at this thing, the Chinese Communist Party did,” Pompeo said. “They were able to infiltrate into our research institutions, our schools, in just exactly the way that you spoke about. But here’s the good news: that is that America has an infinite capacity to be able to push back against them. We’re not a nation in decline. I’ll give you a good example. They were out pitching propaganda on the Wuhan virus, saying that it began here in the United States. We sprung into action immediately and called them out and we presented the facts. We presented data. Everyone now understands that this virus came from China and that the Chinese leadership knew it would have human-to-human spread and it would have real risk to the world and they covered it up. This administration has a responsibility in the same way that we did to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the harm that they wrought to the United States of America.”

Pompeo also highlighted the Trump administration’s push for peace in the Middle East, including most notably the Abraham Accords whereby the Trump administration facilitated peace deals between several Arab nations and Israel. Pompeo also had been leading efforts to negotiate peace in Afghanistan, and achieved a framework to end the war once and for all — Breitbart News had accompanied him to Doha, Qatar, while he was Secretary of State for negotiations with Afghan government officials and Taliban leaders last September — but it remains unclear if the Biden administration will keep that framework. Nonetheless, Pompeo said, the beginning of the path to true peace in the Middle East was paved in the Trump administration and, whether Biden follows it or it is picked up again by a future GOP president if Biden ditches it, the way forward is clear.

“It was good work. It was important work. It was historic work,” Pompeo said. “I’m confident this will actually continue but it will take an American administration that is prepared to confront Iran. We talk about the Abraham Accords and then we talk about the enormous pressure we put on the Iranian regime. Those go hand in hand. They are connected. These Gulf states, these Arab states understood that the United States knew who the real bad guys were, the people who threatened America were largely coming from Iran. We recognized that. So, when we pushed back, these countries were able to say yup it’s fine we can now recognize Israel, we can do business with Israel, we can have diplomatic relationships with Israel, we can have Israel as a security partner, and so whether that’s the Bahrainis or the Emiratis or the Sudanese — whatever country — they came to understand that Israel could in fact be a good partner for them in the region. We changed the course of history. And I think this genie is now out of the bottle. I think that nations will continue to see that this is the right thing for their people and we will build on the Abraham Accords in important ways that will change the Middle East for an awfully long time.”

The last topic Pompeo addressed in the interview was the deep state, and how the permanent political class in Washington aimed to undermine many of the Trump administration’s accomplishments. Pompeo said regarding the deep state that “it is real” and that the way conservatives can fight back against it is to go serve in government themselves and fill many of the positions necessary to implement policy domestically and overseas.

“It is real,” Pompeo said. “The people who come to occupy many of the positions just below political positions in Washington, DC, harbor a worldview that is deeply different than the America First worldview that I spoke about in my speech here at CPAC today. Some of them will do the right thing and will respond to what the president and the Secretary of State wanted, but others worked to undermine it. That’s unacceptable. Second, I think that conservatives need to say ‘yes, I’m going to go serve. I’m going to go be a part of that. I’m going to go help an administration be successful at delivering on an America First policy whether that’s here at home or it’s abroad.’ If we allow the left to occupy these positions, and they continue to work inside of our government to undermine an administration like the one I was part of, we will always do and get less done and accomplish fewer things than we could have — and we’ll never ultimately get these policies to stick when it comes time when the next administration takes power.”

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