Politics

Pompeo to decide on presidential run in “next handful of months,” says Trump won’t affect choice

Washington — Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that he will decide whether to mount a bid for the White House in the “next handful of months” as he and his wife continue weighing his political future.

“Susan and I are thinking, praying, trying to figure out if this is the next place to go serve. We haven’t gotten to that conclusion. We’ll figure this out in the next handful of months,” Pompeo said in an interview with Gayle King on “CBS Mornings.” 

Pompeo is out with a new book, “Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love,” that hit shelves Tuesday. The book focuses on his tenure serving as CIA director and secretary of state in the Trump administration and has been viewed as a springboard for a 2024 presidential run, though Pompeo said the goal is to “tell the story” of the Trump administration’s effort to “put the American people at the front of American foreign policy.”

If Pompeo does seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, he would go up against his former boss, who announced in November that he would run for president a third time.

Asked if Trump’s decision to seek the White House again is having an impact on his own, Pompeo said, “none.”

“When you run for president, you’re making the case to the American people, so all the folks who decide to run, on both sides of the aisle, will be presenting themselves, their ideas, they’ll make arguments. I hope they’ll speak in language that is fundamentally decent and speaks to the higher calling of America and is an optimistic message,” he said. “It won’t matter to the Pompeos who else decides to run. We’ll make that decision based on whether we think this is our moment.”

Pompeo is the only person to hold the roles of both CIA director and secretary of state, and he served all four years of the Trump administration. In his book, he called Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump’s supporters breached the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from reaffirming President Biden’s win, a day that Democrats wanted to “exploit” for political gain.

“We’ve had bad days in America before, that night ended in glory. That night ended in the United States of America completing its constitutional process and confirming President Biden as the duly elected president of the United States,” he said. “We should be proud of that, and we shouldn’t use violence in a political way.” 

Still, he said if people involved in the Capitol assault broke the law, they should be charged.

“If you commit a crime, so if you broke into the Capitol, committed violence, you should be prosecuted,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo also addressed the investigations into Mr. Biden’s and Trump’s handling of documents with classified markings.

In the president’s case, between 25 and 30 records marked classified dating back to his time in the Senate and vice presidency have been found in his former office at a Washington think tank and at his Wilmington, Delaware, home. The materials were turned over to the National Archives and Justice Department.

In Trump’s case, roughly 300 documents marked classified from his presidency were found at his South Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago. Of the tranche of 300 records, more than 100 were retrieved by the FBI during a court-approved search of the property in August. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed two special counsels to oversee the separate investigations into matters involving Mr. Biden and Trump.

Pompeo said he does not think any sensitive government records would be discovered in his possession.

“If you have classified documents, handle them correctly,” he said, “and if you find that you have them in the wrong place, take responsibility, take accountability and turn them back in.”

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