LAS VEGAS – Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insists that former President Donald Trump’s announcement that he is launching a 2024 campaign will not affect his decision on whether he will also enter the burgeoning race for the White House.
When asked by Fox News Tuesday if his former boss’s move would be a factor in his own decision, Pompeo was quick to reply “none” during an interview with Fox New Digital on the sidelines of the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting in Las Vegas. Vegas, Nevada.
“If you’re fielding yourself as a candidate for President of the United States, you better damn believe you have the backbone of steel, the intellectual ability, and the audacity to be Commander-in-Chief of the most important country in the history of the United States.” And if you think it shouldn’t matter who the hell gets in the running, whether you’re the only one or you’re 15,” Pompeo said.
“Who else decides to race is not going to affect our decision… There will be a lot of people thinking about it. There will be a handful that will step in, I’m sure, but the decisions those people make will be independent of the decision we make,” Pompeo added.
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Pompeo, an Army officer on the frontlines of Cold War 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 spent the past year and a half traveling criss-cross on assignment across the country from other Republicans running in the 2022 midterm elections. During his travels, he has made numerous stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada – the first four states to vote in the GOP presidential nomination calendar.
Pompeo’s political action committee has been running ads in early-vote states, another sign he’s seriously considering a White House bid. Pompeo, a Fox News contributor, said recently, “We do the things that you would do to be ready to make an announcement like that and then engage with the American people on the ideas that we believe that they matter.”
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When asked about his timeline to make a decision for 2024 on Friday, he told Fox News, “We’re still working our way through it.
Minutes later, while addressing the crowd of high-profile GOP activists and donors at the RJC dinner, Pompeo joked he was “tonight’s warmup act” for former Vice President Mike Pence, who was set to follow him on the podium.
“Who knows, next time we’re together we might be on stage,” Pompeo joked. “Who knows who will be between us and what nicknames we will have,” he added, hinting at possible presidential debates between himself, Pence and Trump.
Pompeo told Fox News he was disappointed with last week’s election results, when the GOP failed to win a Senate majority, lost key gubernatorial races and secured 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 have criticized the former president after the midterm elections for backing MAGA-style far-right candidates — who backed Trump’s unproven claims that the 2020 election was stolen — who won GOP primaries but ended up at high-profile ones competitive general election lost showdowns.
Pointing to his former boss, Pompeo said, “As far as President Trump goes, I think we should be looking ahead… I don’t think the American people are interested in looking back.”
“Americans are looking for things that will be important to them 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 about how they were going to perform well, tomorrow and next week and in four years,” he argued.
There was a similar message from GOP limited-term governor Larry Hogan of Maryland, who also addressed the RJC crowd Friday night.
Citing Republican setbacks in the 2018 midterms (when they lost control of the House), the 2020 election (when the party lost control of the White House and Senate), and last week’s midterms, Hogan stressed, “Trump said we were going to win so much we were sick of winning. Well, I’m sick of our party losing. This is the third election in a row that we have lost and should have won.
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“I say three punches and you’re out,” added the former president’s vocal Republican critic. “When you keep losing to a really bad team, it’s time for a new lead. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was overwhelmingly reelected last week, has seen his standing with Conservatives across the county rise over the past two years and has seen his numbers rise in GOP polls. nomination at the beginning of 2024 have risen sharply in recent weeks.
DeSantis is addressing the RJC call on Saturday, but Hogan — who reiterated that he will make his own decision for 2024 after his term as Maryland governor ends in mid-January — questioned whether the Florida governor might have the appetite, take on Trump.
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“I’m not sure he’s going to run,” Hogan told reporters Friday. “Will he take on Trump? I’m not sure. I know most of the media focuses on that.”
“I can tell you that in almost every race I’ve seen, the guy who comes out of the pits first, who everyone is talking about being out for two years, is almost never the contender,” Hogan added.