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SECRETARY POMPEO: Good afternoon, everyone. (Applause and cheers.) Thank you – thank you so much. This is awesome. This is awesome.
I – so I survived an introduction by my wife. That’s good. (Laughter.) And I just left the Oval Office; I survived that, too. (Laughter.) And the President – I told the President where I was going. I said, “I got to go. I got to get over there. The people are all waiting for me.” And I said, “I’ve got to defend America’s foreign policy.” He says, “Oh, that’ll be easy.” (Laughter.)
Look, I am thrilled to be here at the largest conservative gathering in the country – except every Trump rally. (Applause.)
And you should all know I was going to pass out copies tonight, but I heard Nance the Ripper is still on the loose. So – (laughter). So no hard copies of my remarks. (Applause.)
Let me start with a simple question – I think I know the answer: Can anyone in this room remember a better time to be an American conservative? (Applause and cheers.)
We are safer than ever, our economy is more prosperous than ever, and President Trump will not stop winning. (Applause.) It’s what a lot of folks have been working on for a long time.
And you’ve heard from Susan, not so many years ago, Susan and I were right there beside you. We were working our tails off as grassroots volunteers trying to get good candidates elected. Sue Schlapp, who introduced my wife, was running for city council in Wichita. We did our best to help her be successful. (Applause.) She was a great city councilperson. But we did what you all do. We donated to causes that we believed in. With most of our time, we raised our family, we taught fifth grade Sunday school together. That was great practice for my current job. (Laughter.) Look, we were active in our church – typical deplorable stuff. (Laughter.)
As I was thinking about this group and what I would say today, I thought: When I was where you are, what would I like to have heard from a Secretary of State back then? What would I have liked to have known?
How does the State Department spend your money, taxpayer money? What does the Secretary do all day to advance America’s interests and its values? How did that guy get the job? (Laughter.)
I can’t answer the last question, but I’m going to tackle the first two with you all today. I want to talk about how under President Trump’s leadership, the State Department is winning for America once again. (Applause.)
We have 74,000 people. We have embassies in 192 countries that go from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
On a daily basis, the State Department does everything from helping American companies be successful abroad and do deals. We screen visa applicants to keep America safe. We forge new alliances.
And if you lose your passport, come see me.
But apart from that daily work, apart from the core, President Trump and I have set a few overarching principles about what we need to do in the world, and the things that we do not need to do.
Simple mission – this may sound trite – but we have to keep America safe. (Applause.)
This may seem obvious.
And we have – President Trump has constructed a foreign policy around government’s most basic mission, national security.
That’s what we were protecting when we launched the strike that killed the terrorist who had murdered and maimed hundreds of Americans. (Applause.)
It’s really been my honor to help President Trump rid the world not just of Qasem Soleimani, but of other truly demonic, evil people. (Applause.)
Qasim al-Raymi was a founder and leader of al-Qaida. He’s gone. (Applause.)
Hamza bin Ladin, the son of Usama bin Ladin, a rising figure in al-Qaida – gone. (Applause.)
And of course, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS – gone. (Applause.)
And can we all agree that the world is a better place because these people are gone? (Applause.)
When it comes to these missions, it’s not just the State Department. I’m part of a big team. I’m in constant contact with our Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, who happens to be a college classmate of mine. Our intelligence head, my former deputy, Gina Haspel, is running the CIA. General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a great American and my neighbor.
In fact, the only key member of our team that I don’t know well is that German shepherd, and I’m going to get to know him. (Laughter.)
It’s a remarkable team that the President has, that he has put together to help deliver President Trump’s foreign policy.
A second priority that I have set and the President’s set is to advance American values.
That includes defending that first freedom: religious liberty. (Applause.)
Some people look at the killings of Christians in the Middle East – or the imprisonment of Uighur Muslims, ethnic Kazakhs, other believers in China – and say, “Look, that’s not our problem.” But I say, and President Trump says, oh yes it is.
It’s our problem. Because the God that has blessed this country as the standard bearer for religious freedom is important everywhere. (Applause.)
Nations that respect this right are freer, more prosperous, more secure, and more stable. And if we don’t defend religious freedom, no one else will. It’s why President Trump has made this incredibly central to what it is we are trying to achieve. (Applause.)
I’ll give you another great example. It’s why, under President Trump’s leadership, we have aligned United States assistance, American aid with American values by reinstating the Mexico City Policy that prohibits one single dollar of yours for going to an abortion anywhere in the world. (Applause.)
President Trump understands deeply that abortion isn’t a human right; it takes a human life.
And there’s another common sense, core American value President Trump has injected into our foreign policy: taking care of our own. It’s why we have all worked so hard to liberate American hostages. (Applause.)
One of my proudest moments, and I know the President’s too, it’s part of our idea that says our foreign policy will have realism, restraint, and respect.
This mission stands out. One of my first big tasks as the Secretary of State was to get a handful of Americans home from North Korea. (Applause.) We flew to North Korea, we negotiated them out, we made the long flight home. When Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song, and Tony Kim got off that airplane it was about 2:30 a.m. not far from here, Joint Air Base Andrews, they cried tears of joy. You’ll remember the pictures, President Trump and Melania were on the tarmac to meet them.
As they were getting off the plane, one of them handed me a card. I put it in my suit pocket as they were making their way towards the crowd. When I got home that night, I saw Susan, I pulled out the card, and on that index card was Psalm 126. It read as follows. It said, “When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
And then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”
Amen to that. (Applause.)
Many of the hostages I’ve released we have not been able to make public. There is nothing I’m more proud of than the priority President Trump has made of bringing home every American, and we’ve had lots of success. (Applause.)
So that’s the mission of the State Department. How do I spend my time advancing it? You should know that it’s different, different Secretaries kind of roll different.
I’m not in it for the fancy dinners in Paris or Switzerland or Vienna. I’ve only been to those places twice during my time on the job. One of my predecessors went 62 times. (Laughter.) That, my friends, is a lot of cocktails. (Laughter.) He also went to Antarctica, and I don’t know who he was negotiating with there. (Laughter.)
Look, I’d rather go be with my team in tough places, places that present hardship to the young men and women who are serving as diplomats all across the world. (Applause.)
Even as we stand here today, even as we stand here today, we have people in China, people in Kabul, and Luanda, Angola, and Baghdad. These are often places secretaries don’t go as frequently – places like Hungary and Iceland, Belarus, and Paraguay.
When I go to these places, I get a chance to thank my team that is delivering America’s value set all across the world alongside our brothers and sisters in the Department of Defense. It is an incredible privilege for me to be part of that. (Applause.)
And when I meet with leaders, it’s – I’m pretty much just Mike. I live by a code that I learned why Susan talked about it, and I learned this at West Point: Just tell the truth. Shoot straight. They prefer it. It’s the way President Trump operates as well.
I set clear expectations for what it means to be on America’s side. I ask our partners to step up on the biggest challenges we face, whether that is countering the Islamic Republic of Iran, countering China, restoring democracy in Venezuela.
You could see President Trump’s mission set. You can see his heart in our foreign policy. We are countering the face of oppression around the world. This was a value that we all know from the enormous successes we had under President Reagan and when the Iron Curtain fell when I was a young cavalry officer.
Another part of shooting straight is being honest with yourself. You have to tell – you have to be clear about what you can do and what you can’t. No foreign policy that is built on fantasy ever works. It’s what we have had to correct in our time. (Applause.)
Under previous administrations, our nation signed dangerous agreements that made Americans less safe, like the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris Climate Accord, and bad trade deals. People said these things couldn’t be fixed.
Previous administrations were proud of themselves for these agreements. They got to go to the ribbon cutting and the signing.
But everyone knows this – the point is changing behavior, not signing documents. (Applause.)
If there is no compliance, or if the agreements were flawed, you’ve got to get out of them. They’re just ink and paper.
And so we did. President Trump’s a smart business leader. We changed course. We renegotiated terms. We got better deals for each and every one of you. (Applause.)
Now, our success depends on who you ask. If you ask the media, maybe not so much. (Laughter.) If you ask our friends (inaudible) I was at a hearing today where they said President Trump’s foreign policy was a failure.
But remember, these are the same people who said for years that we could never achieve exactly what we’ve done. (Applause.)
They said – and I’ve read it. They said, well, you can never successfully confront China on trade. We have a phase one trade deal. (Applause.)
They said you can never get Mexico to control its border. And there are thousands of Mexican troops helping us stop the crossings. (Applause.)
They said you’d never defeat ISIS. And the caliphate is gone. (Applause.)
And they said we’d never free Pastor Brunson from his prison in Turkey. And he’s home. (Applause.)
They said Mexico and Canada will never renegotiate their deal. (Laughter.)
They said the North Koreans would never engage in a conversation about their nuclear weapons program. They said they’d never release their hostages and that we couldn’t get the remains of our soldiers home. And we’ve done that. (Applause.)
They said that pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal would lead to runaway proliferation. But it’s restored deterrence.
And they said taking out Qasem Soleimani would lead to World War III. And it’s actually made our world far safer. (Applause.)
We should – it’s easy to forget, but they said that moving our embassy to Jerusalem would set the Middle East alight. That didn’t happen. And our plan represents the best chance for peace in decades. (Applause and cheers.)
I could go on, but time is short and winning is exhausting. (Laughter.)
And while I know fatigue and stress is definitely part of my job, I know too – Susan reminded you I’m the 70th Secretary of State. I know President Trump is the 45th president, more turnover in my gig. (Laughter.)
I wanted to leave you with one last thought.
I am frequently challenged by those who disagree with our foreign policy. They ask questions such as, “Why is it okay for America to intervene between two countries with nuclear weapons?” Or, “Why does America care who’s elected the next leader in Venezuela?” And so on.
I answer this way, typically.
I’ve traveled a bit and I’ve spent significant and necessary time with evil individuals who have American blood on their hands. And I’ve also hugged and held children in every corner of the world.
In both instances, they know the answer to those questions. They know America under President Trump means business. They know that America is a force for good. (Applause.)
It does not mean – it does not mean we get it right every day.
But I can assure you – I can assure you – that wherever I go, working for President Trump, people tug on my sleeves. They want to meet me. They want to meet me not because I’m Mike from Kansas, because I represent the greatest nation in the history of civilization. (Applause and cheers.)
It is my honor – it is my honor to represent each and every one of you every day.
Thank you for what you’re doing to keep this country exceptional.
God bless you and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
Pompeo 2021 (auto-transcription lightly cleaned up):
Thank you for that warm greeting. It is always a blessing and a little unnerving to have your son at the podium. I looked out here and I see you all and I feel really at home, and thank you for that. [applause]
Last year I came as the 70th secretary of state, President Trump’s secretary of state. Before that I was a member of Congress from Kansas. But this is different. In the last few months we have been called clowns, deplorable’s, ignorant, rednecks, people resistance. Some said I was the worst secretary of state of all time. Since I last saw you, the Chinese and Iranians don’t think much of me either. But I am proud of our accomplishments that we have truly upended the status quo. [applause]
We have [?] enormous resistance to socialism, cancel culture. We have resisted seeing our liberties and freedoms swept away. This is a noble, worthy fight, and we are in it. We fought hard on nearly every front and we will always fight for it. I remember when they were saying we were against the establishment and we said, of course.
I think I come by this disruption issue, in the Pompeo family I have been compared to my grandfather. Grandpa Earl always said what was on his mind. He was in Kansas, you worked hard. He never won a congeniality contest. But when the going was tough, you wanted Grandpa Earl around. In the 1930’s, Grandpa Earl was the sheriff. The population was less than 6500. Uncle Richard was the last of the lot. He was going to run for sheriff. Richard decided there was really good money in homemade gin. [laughter] so he built a still and everything was good. The campaign and the bootleg business, all good until it still exploded in the basement. It blew up the basement and the campaign. Grandpa Earl was a one term sheriff in Mitchell County. He moved his family south where he raised my mother and open a pool hall.
I tell the story because I think there are a couple things that those of us who have been part of the conservative movement can learn from this. First, he was a great sheriff because he never tried to be anything he wasn’t. He was never afraid to tell people the truth. He did what the people of Mitchell County expected of him, he respected them. Second, the lesson from the gin problem is that things happen. We don’t always see it going where we want but we should never give up and we should always be true to ourselves and we will succeed. [applause]
Grandpa Earl knew that facts mattered. Today I will show you some facts from the last four years and we protected you at every turn. When you are a diplomat and you have to stay in your lane. I don’t have that because I am not a diplomat. So where do we begin? We began with workers across America we put back to work we put African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, everyone was back to work. President Trump did that. We understood it mattered. [applause]
We focused on the economy to put Americans back to work. We did it by also securing our borders, giving Americans a chance to make a good wage and take care of their family. [applause] We also, I’m from Kansas don’t forget, we built American energy jobs the rolled back regulations and wanted everyone to grow their business and have great opportunity for people all across America. I ran for Congress in 2010 when President Obama was in office. We restored the confidence. We have their back. We wanted them to be successful. [applause]
The hallmark of our work in America is that we were bold and fearless. I hear Democrats pretend they care about jobs in America. But before the seats were warm, they destroyed 10,000 jobs on the pipeline. I say to my predecessor’s predecessor, John Kerry, he is going to make solar banners — solar panels. You as people in South dakota, do you think they are going to go out and make solar panels? You can expect the cheap solar panels from china to start flooding in and it will not be good for the United States of America.
Don’t get me wrong, we get accused of saying we don’t care about the environment and create jobs to destroy it and that is not true. We couldn’t do it and protect the environment on the back of the American workers. There were more job openings than people looking for work for much of these last four years. It was an amazing accomplishment. [applause] and when the Chinese wanted to steal your job, we just said, no way. 40 years of failure letting made in china crush us was going to stop. We demanded fair and reciprocal trade. The president understood that and we protected the American worker from the Chinese communist party. [applause]
My job often was overseas. We defended our freedom abroad. We did it like Grandpa Earl did. We were honest and hard-working and treated the world as it is and not how we wish it were. I walked out of some very quiet rooms in Europe. [applause]
We had a restrained foreign policy, but when the situation so required, we came hard and heavy. I sent messages repeatedly to bad guys around the world and said if you touch an American, you will pay dearly. [applause]
Now we all know that strength deters bad guys, weakness begets war and we wanted to stay out of wars. We did. I was with the president on many trips and he would say I am going to put America first as the president of the United States and I expect you will put your people first and we will work together to accomplish this for both, and we did that. [applause]
America first is right for America. It is right for each of us. It secures our freedom and the entire world benefits when we are fearless and bold and strong. The Paris climate accord, we got out. It was a fantasy for diplomats want to virtual signal. When president Biden rejoined it, President Xi Jinping was smiling every minute and Americans lost. We defended Americans and israelis in the middle east. We were told that you can’t sanction the ayatollah in Iran and you can’t stop sending gas to the leadership or there would be war. We did and there wasn’t a war. [applause]
We were told you can’t move the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. There will be a war. Well we did, and there was not a war. [applause] we were told you can’t allow Israel to have its rights in the Golan Heights. There will be a war. We did that and there was no war. [applause]
we were told, and this was believed, that you can’t secure peace in the middle east and without buying off Palestine we will create world war iii. But we did, and the accords forced peace in the middle east. [applause]
thank you. The Abraham accords revealed decades of failed negotiations. We were able to go against the elites and champion your values. It looks like the new team appears to be heading back to be appeasing Iran and this will be a disaster for the United States of America and the region as well — this will be a disaster for the United States of America and the region. I was meeting with Chairman Kim to prepare for the historic summit that was held in Singapore. We threatened fire and fury. We threatened fire and fury not to go to war but to deter it. And we did. Those two summits, the North Koreans haven’t tested a long-range ballistic missile and they have not tested their nuclear weapons. [applause]
I was — it was humbling because on the second trip I had a chance to bring home American hostages from Pyongyang. [applause]
America first always, we never forget about our warriors. A pastor stayed in turkey detained for far too long, and we brought back so many remains of our fallen in Korea as well. This was amazing and right and America first. [applause] How many of you remember Soleimani? He was the general who was trying to cause trouble for America. He was on a mission to harm Americans, but we were a few steps ahead of him. In the end he didn’t cause trouble for Americans or anyone else ever again. [applause]
Did you know that to this day most of the liberals still won’t won’t admit that ridding the world of the terrorist was a good thing. We drew a red line.
The Syrians gassed children and women. We told him don’t do that again. President Trump ordered American-made Tomahawk missiles to let them know that we wouldn’t allow them to kill women and children. [applause] America first takes real courage. It takes the secretary of state to walk in the room and tell it like it is and a president who had his back. We had that. [applause]
Speaking of that, I hear president Biden saying America is back. [laughter] Back to what? [laughter] Back to power? Back to sending cash to the ayatollah? Back to apologizing when Iranians tell our soldiers and sailors to take to their knees at gunpoint? Back to president Biden killing the pipeline? Back to all of the things that put America last after supporting the pipeline in Europe that would create European jobs.
This is not what we want to go back to at any time at all and we certainly don’t want to go back to letting China have trade deals that kill our jobs here in America. We can’t afford. It’s not the right thing. We don’t have to do it. We must be bold and we must put America first.
We spent a lot of time about — talking about being canceled. I was happy this is being aired on television not canceled at least for the moment. We worked tirelessly with great success to deliver on our American values that have made this such a special unique nation. This country was built on what our founders understood and the bill of rights that came behind the constitution. Recognizing the rights come from our creator and not from any government. [applause] our union becomes more perfect every time we defend our sovereignty and our borders and I am proud we are the most pro-life administration in the history of the U.S. [applause] It was my job to deny that any taxpayer dollars from any American went to perform an abortion any place in the world and we promoted that doctrine anywhere and always. Don’t forget that President Trump appointed a lot of judges that understand the words of life and liberty and words that have real meaning. [applause] I worked with the Mexican government, my counterpart to secure our borders. I worked to protect your right for firearms. It makes sure each of us has the right to defend ourselves precisely as our founders intended.
Liberals pretend to care about the poor, then they side with the union bosses against the workers. They pretend to care about kids while kids in democrat led cities aren’t in front of computers, they’re struggling to figure out how to stay safe from drug lords. That’s not good leadership. That’s not taking care of the people you are charged with protecting. We need to get everyone of our children back in school. [applause]
I was a soldier about 25 years ago and about 100 pounds ago. [laughter] when I hear democrats say they want a strong America, I know they are working to undermine it. Mark my word, they will gut the defense budget that we worked so hard to build. They will do it to pay for the green new deal. They will trade Army green for AOC green. That’s a bad trade. Our young men and women, we don’t want to put them in harm’s way. We are weak at home and we don’t stand up for our military, the risk of war increases when deterrence fades. We cannot let that happen. They want to defund the police.
Canceling our freedom to assemble peacefully is antithetical to what our founders understood about America. When I headed up to West Point, I grew up in southern California. They left me at the airport. My mother was a cigarette smoking high school graduate and the most decent woman I ever met. She pulled me aside, she said Mike, I know you are — don’t ever let them wear you down. Wear them down. [applause] I have never forgotten what my mom told me that day. Keep grinding, keep championing American values.
The smartest officer I ever came to know, worked closely with air force special operations officer. I asked him about someone on our team and I said what do you think of him or her? He would say I love that guy. He meant that person got stuff done. They were a grinder. They kept banging away. You all know these four years are going to test us. I need each of you to be a pipe hitter. Get stuff done. Keep grinding. Be a pipe hitter at church. Be a pipe hitter at your PTA meeting. Don’t let them bring crazy into your classrooms. Be a pipe hitter at your VFW. Be on the team to commit to support our warriors. Be a pipe hitter when they tell you they’re closing the mine or factory because of some green vision. Keep it open.
President Reagan was the real pipe hitter. He once said if we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape. This is the last stand on earth. I saw that. I saw that as your secretary of state as I traveled around the world. I am confident he was right and the American star will shine across the heavens so long as we keep a proper understanding of our God-given rights at the center of who we are and we keep up our request to secure freedom for our own people and for all of mankind. I will be with you in the fight. God bless you and may God bless the United States of America. [applause] (music) (music) (music) [applause]