DES MOINES, Iowa — Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Breitbart News exclusively that he and former President Donald Trump would have been much more forceful and aggressive with the Communist regime in Cuba in response to protests there as people rise up against the oppressive government, pushing for more freedom.
“There would have been three things that would have been different at the outset, probably a longer list,” Pompeo said when asked how he and Trump would have handled things differently from Biden. “First, it would have taken all of three seconds—and I’m not even sure my team would have had to get my approval—to put out a statement that ‘We support the people of Cuba and their freedom. Communism has destroyed their lives and they want out from that yolk—God bless you and please make sure you’re doing everything you can to deliver an outcome, change the regime so you can live out that freedom.’ Literally, my team would have known it was on our hearts and who we were—it wouldn’t have taken us 48 seconds let alone 48 hours to do that. Second, we put enormous pressure on the Cuban regime and I think that emboldened the Cuban people. The Cuban regime is at its weakest point in history, giving the chance for the Cuban people to rise up. We would have enforced that with everything we did in the aftermath of these uprisings. Finally, there were some real tactical things we would have begun to do. When you have one element within the government that has all the guns, it’s very hard for these protesters—they put their lives at risk. We would have made sure at the very least they had the ability to communicate with each other all across that island. It’s only 90 miles away. The ability for them to communicate is invaluable. They can talk about where the protests are, they can talk about where the Cuban government is, and then finally we would have warned the Russians too: ‘Don’t you dare step in here, don’t you dare come 90 miles from our shore and support this Cuban regime.’ We would have drawn a big line there and given the Cuban people the courage there to continue their protests and demand their freedom.”
Pompeo also noted that unlike under Democrat John F. Kennedy’s presidency, which saw the Cuban Missile Crisis, Democrats nowadays under Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration and former Democrat President Barack Obama’s administration sought to appease the Communist regime 90 miles south of Miami.
“It shifted,” Pompeo said when asked what changed among Democrats. “President Obama wanted to go to a baseball game there and, I don’t know, look cool in the stands and frankly provide money that tamped down the very exercise of these Cuban people’s freedom.”
Biden did eventually—more than a week later—issue sanctions against some Cuban officials. And his White House did eventually acknowledge the woes of Communism. But the hesitancy on display from Democrats unwilling to challenge the ideology that also fuels their socialist left flank is something Pompeo zoned in on in this exclusive interview with Breitbart News backstage last week at the Family Leadership Summit here in downtown Des Moines. An event that also featured former Vice President Mike Pence and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem this year, the Family Leadership Summit served as a springboard for Trump’s nascent presidential campaign in 2015—his appearance there helped catapult him to the front of the 2016 GOP presidential pack, and he eventually won the GOP nomination and the presidency a year and a half later. The interview with Pompeo aired on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel this weekend.
Asked if he is considering a presidential campaign of his own in 2024—Pompeo is widely regarded as a potential successor to Trump—the former president’s top diplomat said he is focused squarely on the midterm elections for now and working to help Republicans up and down the ballot nationwide through his group CAVPAC—the acronym stands for Championing American Values (CAV) PAC.
“I’m here in Iowa to help candidates be successful when going into 2022,” Pompeo said. “That’s the mission set. It’s what CAVPAC is aimed at. We’ve lived the CAVPAC dream these last six months, and that is championing American values and riding to the sound of the guns. When 2022 is over, then we’ll go figure out what’s next. I know I’ll stay in the fight—whether that fight turns out to be running for office or doing something else, these ideas—these conservative ideas—matter to me and I’m going to go try to have an impact and make a difference.”
Pompeo gave a series of speeches and took questions from Iowans at events earlier in the day last Friday in both northern Des Moines in the Ankeny neighborhood and up in Ames, Iowa, during which a common question was what represents the biggest threat to the United States—foreign adversaries or domestic subversion? Pompeo said, while he regularly fights back against the former, the latter could undo the country from within.
“My understanding is precisely in line with how the founders thought about America,” Pompeo said. “They knew we would have adversaries that would want to present risk to us, but if we screwed our Constitution up—if we walked away from these ideas of freedom and liberty and protecting the unborn, all the things that America was built on—if we didn’t get those conservative principles and those constitutional ideas right, then that’s how the republic falls. It happens from the inside. It’s like a disease. The real risk is what happens inside. The biggest threats to the republic come from things like Critical Race Theory, folks who say you are racist if you say our founding began in 1776—something that is historically accurate fact—or if you deny systemic racism and those ideas begin to be transmitted across the years and across the generations in our kindergartens and our high schools and our universities. That’s the risk, that America loses its understanding of what made it so great and walks away from them.”
Pompeo praised parents nationwide for fighting back against Critical Race Theory.
“Yeah, they’ve had enough. You’re not going to teach our kids this garbage,” Pompeo said. “This is why you’re seeing these parents rise up. It’s interesting, you’re seeing it in these school boards, but you’re also seeing people say ‘I’m going to go run for city council. I’m going to go be a member of the board of regents.’ You see people that are furious about the crime in their communities and they go make sure their county sheriff is going to enforce the law. Every element, all across America, you’re seeing conservative believers rise up and say, ‘We’re not going to take this anymore’ and ‘We’re not going to allow our country to head down this path of chaos and anarchy’ and ‘We’re going to go live in an America that looks like the one that made this country so unique.’”
Another common refrain from questioners at the Iowa events was how to combat what is colloquially known as the “Deep State”—the myriad federal agencies and bureaucrats and bureaucracies quickly adopting things like Critical Race Theory and working to undermine people like Pompeo and Trump when they were in office. One person even mentioned the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, promoting Critical Race Theory during a recent congressional hearing. Asked about it, Pompeo gave a blueprint for how to fight back.
“You have to do two things—one, you have to win elections and second you have to be absolutely fearless in talking about these risks,” Pompeo said. “I lived it. When I ran the State Department, this was an institution that was long populated by people that didn’t want to have very much to do with President Trump and Mike Pompeo. They had a very different view—they had the establishment, consensus foreign policy view. As a leader, as someone who was nominated and confirmed by the duly elected president, my responsibility was to go deliver what the American people had asked President Trump to do. I watch—I was a soldier a long time ago—I watch what’s happening inside our military, what they’re teaching some of our military kids, and it’s frightening. The focus of the military has to be singular: Break stuff, and kill people when the Commander in Chief asks you to do it to defend our freedom. I’m happy to have a diverse military, I think that’s a good thing, but we can’t have the priority be political correctness or this idea that somehow our military is racist. This is an institution that has historically been on the vanguard of racial equality. It’s a step backwards. I hope that our generals do general stuff, and our politicians do political stuff—and neither of the two should cross.”
What’s more, Pompeo said the Biden administration has zero serious accomplishments now more than seven months into this experiment of complete Democrat control in Washington, D.C.
“I’m not sure what they would list as their accomplishments today other than spending a whole lot of money and getting almost nothing for it, supporting the furthest left elements within their party whether that is with Critical Race Theory, or their unwillingness to denounce Communism,” Pompeo said. “The Cuban people rise up and it takes someone in their administration 48 hours to admit Communism is bad? We’ve also seen inflation beginning to run rampant—they won’t push back against these mayors in these cities who refuse to enforce the rules and tamp down violence. We’ve seen some of the highest murder rates in history. We’ve also seen them continue to hide behind this virus and put clampdowns and restrictions in in a way that is unscientific. This is an administration that has just taken up the furthest left elements in their party and put that at the center and I think, too, that this is not just—when you see these parents rising up, when you see the energy the conservative movement has, I think it’s deeply connected to what they see the administration doing when they are essentially given the entire football field to run all across, and I’m convinced that if we work hard and get the message right about freedom, that we’ll have a very successful election 18 months from now.”
Pompeo also said that the key to his success as Trump’s Secretary of State was remembering when he would be meeting with an American adversary who he was representing back home. He said the things he would seek to accomplish—the adverse actions of America’s enemies and adversaries—would have reverberating consequences to people in the heartland of the United States.
“Whenever I was traveling, I would think of the people I knew back in Kansas where I was a representative for six years,” Pompeo said. “That was the image in my head when I was sitting across the table from Vladimir Putin or Chairman Kim or the Taliban for that matter. How do I preserve their way of life so they can raise their families? Look, it’s a complicated question. What happens in Beijing doesn’t stay in Beijing. The Chinese Communist Party wants to steal American jobs. They come and they steal our intellectual property and then they dump the products back here destroying millions of jobs in places like Iowa and Kansas. There are real economic impacts. You talked about energy. We wanted to export American energy around the world to tie other nations closer to ours and create wealth for Americans and good jobs all across Texas’s panhandle, West Virginia, Pennsylvania—these were good-paying energy jobs. This president has shut that all in and then realized ‘Oh we have a problem’ because gas is going up and then asked the Saudis to pump more oil when we could do it here at home. This is the fundamental misunderstanding and the naïveté this administration has had for so long about the things that underwrite and secure American freedom.”
In that vein, Pompeo also noted—as he did in speeches throughout his time in Iowa last Friday—that he and President Trump did not start any new foreign wars and worked to end wars, including in Afghanistan where Pompeo negotiated out a blueprint with the Taliban that set into motion the end of the war in Afghanistan. Biden has generally kept the parameters of the deal, but delayed its timeline to try to take credit for an end to the war, but it was Trump and Pompeo who began that—as Pompeo made clear in this interview.
“We understood that protecting and preserving American freedom didn’t depend on us having soldiers stationed everywhere and always,” Pompeo said. “We had economic tools, we had diplomatic tools, we had all of the alliances we were able to form so we crushed the caliphate, took down ISIS—an Islamic terrorist group that had real estate the size of the United Kingdom—we eliminated it and then we got home. We got our kids back. Then, in Afghanistan, we prevented terror attacks—we didn’t have any American attacked from the first time I went to meet with the Taliban until the time we left office. We reduced our footprint and the costs associated with that. We need to ask our friends and allies that in the first instance they need to protect themselves. We will be there to provide the things that they need to secure their freedom, it matters to us, but we were determined to deliver good diplomatic outcomes to secure and protect American commerce but do so without having to put our young men and women who serve in the military in harm’s way.”
LISTEN TO MIKE POMPEO ON BREITBART NEWS SATURDAY: