Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Bud Hedinger of Good Morning Orlando, WFLA Orlando
01/23/2020 11:25 AM EST
Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
QUESTION: As we’ve been telling you, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be in central Florida this afternoon, four o’clock this afternoon. He gives a major foreign policy address at the Sumter County Fairground in Bushnell near The Villages. More than a thousand people will be on hand, and we are honored to have Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with us live on Good Morning Orlando. Welcome to – welcome to the show and good morning. It’s great to have you here.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning, sir. Good to chat with you, sir.
QUESTION: So, let’s talk about it. What will be the focus of your major foreign policy address here this afternoon?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I want to share with the people of Florida what President Trump and our team are doing around the world to keep them safe and secure. We’ve had a successful three years in American foreign policy and want to articulate our vision for how we’ll carry that forward and what it is we’re doing and why this matters to the people of Florida.
QUESTION: How specific can you be? I mean, what is – what is the strategy moving forward?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I’ll talk about President Trump’s “America First” foreign policy, which understands that the State Department’s primary mission, all of us involved in America’s national security, are primarily focused on ensuring that everything we do, whether it’s trade deals with foreign countries or how we marshal our forces or how we execute our diplomacy – every bit of that is focused on securing the well-being of the American people as our primary mission set. And you can see how that’s delivered, whether it was the work that we’ve done in the Middle East, the trade deal that was struck with the Chinese. All the elements of President Trump’s foreign policy are designed to provide a safe, secure, and prosperous America.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I know you’ve been traveling. More on that in a moment, but I know you’re aware of the impeachment trial ongoing in the U.S. Senate. What are your thoughts on that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: To be honest with you, I have been traveling. I haven’t paid much attention to it. The process will play its way out. I was involved in the foreign policy on Ukraine from the beginning of my time as Secretary of State, where we were aimed at two missions: reducing the amount of corruption inside of Ukraine and ensuring that we got the right systems, the right capabilities, the right ability for Ukraine to defend itself against the Russians in southeast Ukraine. Those were our two primary missions. We continue to be focused on those.
QUESTION: Over in Davos, the President mentioned that he – he’d be – like to have you testify as a witness but he’s concerned about national security issues. Are you available to do that, to get up there before the U.S. Senate and back the President?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, I’ve said before, if the Senate makes that decision and that’s what’s legally required, I’m happy to participate in that process. We’ve been focused in Ukraine on the singular mission of why this matters to America, what are the things we can do to keep Americans more safe, and how do we help the Ukrainians deliver democracy to their people as well.
QUESTION: I’m talking with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who speaks in central Florida later on today. You’ve just returned from visiting South America, Central America, and Jamaica. What came out of that trip, sir?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I went down there to talk about why these things matter to the United States and how our partnerships with these countries – I was in Colombia, I was in Costa Rica, I was in Jamaica, but met with leaders from all across the Caribbean and from South America, my counterpart in Brazil.
In every effort, we were focused on two things. We forget that terrorism exists in our hemisphere as well. Hizballah is in South America. The Iranian reach throughout Europe and South America exists, and we were talking about how we protect our region, how we make sure that terror doesn’t spread from South America to North America or from here around the Western Hemisphere. And then second, we were talking about the prosperity agenda, how we can develop trading relationships with these countries in a way that will create jobs and wealth and prosperity and opportunity for people right here in Florida.
QUESTION: Secretary Pompeo, our window here is pretty tight. We only have you for another minute or two, but in Venezuela, it’s the first anniversary, the election of Juan Guaido as president. Now, he’s recognized as the legitimate president of Venezuela by us and by more than 50 other countries, but dictator Maduro remains in power. Have we given up on trying to oust Maduro?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Absolutely not. I had the privilege to meet with Juan Guaido when I was in Colombia. He had traveled outside of Venezuela to meet with me. He is working to build his opposition forces. He’s working to build out what the Venezuelan people are demanding. They just want freedom and democracy.
Maduro has destroyed that country. There have now been 6 million people forced – just about 6 million people forced to flee that country. That’s almost 20 percent of their population. We are working to restore democracy in Venezuela so that the Venezuelan people can simply have the opportunity to take care of their families. President Trump remains firmly committed to that.
QUESTION: And where do we stand with Iran and with Iraq? And there’s sentiment there that we should be pulling our troops. Where do we stand on all of that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: President Trump’s made it very clear we want to reduce our risk and the cost that we have associated with our activities in the Middle East. He has similarly made clear to all of us on his team that we’ve got to continue to defend and protect America. We are trying to strike that right balance. I’m confident that we can do that.
Everyone remembers that we’ve had terror come to the United States from these places. We have an obligation to continue that mission, but we can do so in a way that reduces risk to our soldiers, to our sailors, to our airmen and Marines and still keep America safe.
QUESTION: In our final seconds, a final question: If President Trump asked you to continue as Secretary of State in his second term, would you do it?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I don’t do hypotheticals very much, but it has been an enormous privilege to serve for him, and I’ve said consistently, so long as President Trump wants me to be his Secretary of State, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to do so.
QUESTION: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. We’ll welcome you to central Florida today.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. I’m looking forward to being at Sumter County Fairgrounds this afternoon.
QUESTION: God bless you, sir. Thanks for coming on.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, sir. So long.