Excerpts from Secretary of State Nominee Pompeo’s Prepared Remarks

Below are excerpts from the opening statement, as prepared for delivery, at the April 12 confirmation hearing of former CIA Director Mike Pompeio as Secretary of State.

America’s Duty to Lead

“Make no mistake: America is uniquely blessed, and with those blessings comes a duty to lead.  As I have argued throughout my time in public service, if we do not lead the calls for democracy, prosperity, and human rights around the world, who will? ”

Being Labeled a “Hawk”

“I know firsthand the painful sacrifices of our men and women in uniform.  So when journalists, most of whom have never met me, label me—or any of you—as “hawks,” “war hardliners,” or worse, I shake my head.  There are few who dread war more than those of us who have served in uniform…. War is always the last resort.”

Ridding the World of a Nuclear North Korea

“Diplomatic efforts are underway to rid the world of a nuclear North Korea. There is no higher diplomatic task for the State Department team than solving this decades-in-the-making threat to our nation.  The stakes are high for everyone, but I believe them to be the highest for the North Korean regime.  The State Department has successfully rallied the world to cut ties and impose sanctions that have had a profound impact.  But there is much diplomatic work left to do, including supporting the President’s intent to meet with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.  That meeting will take place against a backdrop of commitment by our President to achieve denuclearization and prevent America from being held at risk by a North Korean arsenal of nuclear weapons.  I have read the CIA histories of previous negotiations with the North Koreans, and am confident that we will not repeat the mistakes of the past.  President Trump isn’t one to play games at the negotiating table, and I won’t be either.  

Russia’s Aggressive Actions

“Russia continues to act aggressively, enabled by years of soft policy toward that aggression.  That’s now over.  The list of this administration’s actions to raise the cost for Vladimir Putin is long….   The actions of this administration make clear that President Trump’s national security strategy, rightfully, has identified Russia as a danger to our country.”

Toward a More Productive Partnership with China

“Even while America has reestablished a position of strength in our diplomatic relationship, China continues its concerted and coordinated effort to compete with the United States in diplomatic, military, and economic terms.  For years…, China has exploited weak U.S. trade policy and leeched wealth and secrets from our economy.  Militarily, it continues its provocation in the South and East China Seas, in cyberspace, and even in outer space.  This administration is determined to work diplomatically with the Chinese government in an effort to develop a more productive bilateral partnership.  We have been pleased with China’s support of our efforts to apply pressure on the North Korean regime, but it must do more.”