LAS VEGAS – Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insists former President Donald Trump’s announcement to launch a 2024 campaign will not affect his decision whether to enter the burgeoning race at the White House.
Asked by UKTN News if his former boss’ move on Tuesday would be a factor in his own decision, Pompeo quickly answered “no” during a sit-down interview with UKTN New Digital on the sidelines of the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting. in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“If you are putting yourself forward for the presidency of the United States, you better believe you have the backbone of steel, the intellectual capacity, and the guts to be the commander-in-chief of the most important nation in the history of civilization. And if you believe it doesn’t matter who the hell comes into the race, if you’re the only one or if there’s 15 of you,” Pompeo said.
“Whoever else decides to enter the race will not affect our decision… There will be a lot of people thinking about it. I’m sure a handful of people will get in, but the decisions those people make will be independent of the decision we make,” added Pompeo.
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Pompeo, an army officer on the front lines of the Cold War in Germany who was later elected to Congress from Kansas and served as CIA director and later as America’s top diplomat in the Trump administration, has been touring the country for the past year and a half on behalf of fellow -Republicans running in the 2022 midterm elections. During his travels, he made numerous stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada—the first four states to vote on the GOP presidential nomination calendar.
Pompeo’s political action committee went up with ads in the early voting states, another sign he’s seriously considering a White House bid. Pompeo, a UKTN News contributor, recently said that “we’re doing the things one would do to get ready to make an announcement like that and then engage with the American people about the ideas that we think matter .”
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When asked on Friday about his timeline for making a decision for 2024, he told UKTN News: “We’re still working through it. We thought we have to be hard by the first quarter of next year if we want to to do.”
Minutes later, speaking to the crowd of powerful GOP activists and donors at the RJC dinner, Pompeo joked that he was “the warm-up tonight” for former Vice President Mike Pence, who would follow him onstage.
“Who knows, we’ll be on stage next time we’re together,” Pompeo joked. “Who knows who will be between us and what nicknames we will have,” he added, pointing to possible presidential primary debates between him, Pence and Trump.
Pompeo told UKTN News he was disappointed with last week’s election results, when the GOP failed to win a Senate majority, lost key gubernatorial races and won a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives — disappointing GOP expectations for a “red wave.” election.
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A number of Republicans in the aftermath of the midterms have criticized the former president for boosting far-right MAGA candidates — who supported Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 election was stolen — who won GOP primaries but ultimately lost in high-profile competitive general election showdowns.
Pompeo pointed to his former boss and said, “As far as President Trump is concerned, I think we need to look forward… I don’t think the American people are interested in looking back.”
“The American people are looking for things that matter tomorrow. And I think we had too many candidates who spent too much time talking about yesterday or a week ago or four years ago, and not enough time to talk about how they would produce good results.” results tomorrow and next week and in four years,” he argued.
There was a similar message from limited-term GOP Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland, who also addressed the RJC crowd Friday night.
Referring to Republican setbacks in the 2018 midterm elections (when they lost the majority in the House of Representatives), the 2020 election (when the party lost the White House and Senate majorities), and the midterms of previous week, Hogan stressed, “Trump said we were going to win so bad we’d get tired of winning. Well, I’m tired of our party losing. This is the third election in a row that we lost and should have won.”
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“I say three strikes and you’re out,” the former president’s vocal Republican critic added. “When you lose repeatedly to a really bad team, it’s time for new leadership. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who was reelected overwhelmingly last week, has seen his standing with conservatives across the county rise over the past two years, and his numbers in early 2024 GOP nomination polls in recent weeks to rise.
DeSantis addresses the RJC confab on Saturday, but Hogan — who reiterated that he will make his own decision for 2024 after his term as Maryland governor expires in mid-January — wondered if Florida’s governor might feel like taking it up against Trump.
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“I’m not sure he’ll run,” Hogan told reporters on Friday. “Does he want to run against Trump? I’m not sure. I know most of the media is focused on that.”
“I can tell you that in almost every race I’ve seen, the guy who comes out of the box first and everyone is talking about in two years is almost never the nominee,” added Hogan.