SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you.
QUESTION: Tell us why you’re in Kansas this week.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Nick, it’s great to be with you. It’s great to be back home. I’m here today to talk to entrepreneurs all across Kansas and Missouri, to share with them what it is the State Department can do for them to help them build a business, to help them get investment from around the world, to help them attack international markets. Whether they’re doing retail or providing goods or services, the State Department is there to help them achieve their goals if they want to grow their business in places outside of the United States.
QUESTION: As someone who started a business in Kansas, how can business leaders here best connect with the rest of the world?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So there’s a number of ways. We’ll talk about each of them today. We’ve got a big group that’s going to be with us today. We’ll talk about how the State Department can help, how we connect. Today there’ll be leaders from around the world, business leaders from around the world who will talk about opportunities, and even just the chance to connect and to build a set of relationships there. We’ll help folks figure out how to do it, how to do it cost-effectively, how to compete in these difficult marketplaces. I did, I ran two small businesses back in Kansas. It would have been great for me to have had the opportunity here from leaders like this to help us grow our business.
QUESTION: Well, and the thing is that this is sort of a preview to an international event taking place later this year.
SECRETARY POMPEO: It is. It’s a global event that the State Department’s engaged in. It’s very important to President Trump to grow our economy. The pillar of American national security is, in fact, a growing, thriving American economy. We’ll get – have a seminar not too terribly different from the one we’re having today in The Hague in just a few months. We’re really looking forward to it. We hope there’ll be a bunch of Kansans travel to the Netherlands to do that.
QUESTION: And actually, there will be – a representative from the Netherlands will be a part of what’s going on here in the next couple of days. But while I’ve got you on the phone, obviously got to talk to you about a couple of other things. And the first of those is: It’s been a – you were still a congressman from Kansas the last time we spoke, and you’ve gone a long way since then. So talk about what’s been the most difficult thing for you in becoming Secretary of State. Shoot, you passed all the way through CIA director and we didn’t talk even once.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Nick, it’s been an incredible privilege to both represent the people of south central Kansas, then be the director of the CIA, and now serve as America’s most senior diplomat. It’s a big task for sure, but I have a great team at the State Department. The missions, frankly, in each of those three roles were similar. One of the missions as a member of Congress is to work on national security, and that’s certainly what I’ve done in my current role and the one most previous. Achieving security for Kansans, for people all across America is at the center of what we’re working on alongside President Trump.
QUESTION: One of the biggest things that this trade fight across the world has been about is that economic prosperity and peaceful coexistence have to go together, don’t they?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Nick, you’ve nailed it. For an awfully long time, other countries abused America’s economy. They stole our intellectual property. They refused to let us sell our products. I remember when I was a small businessman, if someone from China wanted to come invest in America, they could. If we wanted to do it there, we couldn’t. That’s not fair. Farmers know that, manufacturers know that, business people know that. President Trump is determined to give American businesses, American farmers, American manufacturers fair and reciprocal opportunities to grow their businesses.
QUESTION: The other thing that the State Department obviously does is takes care of big-time security issues, and you’ve probably got more stamps on your passport than anyone else in the world literally over the course of these last few months and years. Of all the places you’ve gone to, where’s the place Kansans might be able to see their goods go next?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Goodness, there’s enormous growth all across Asia. So I’ve traveled to Singapore, to Vietnam, I’ve been to China, to South Korea, to Japan. Each of those offers real opportunity for Kansans, and those countries are growing, their people are growing, the middle class with the resources to purchase American goods is growing. There’s real opportunity there, and I hope Kansans who hear this this morning will get excited about it and turn to the State Department to help them achieve their business goals.
QUESTION: One other thing is I have some friends – I worked for 10 years in McPherson, Kansas, out in central Kansas, and had some friends that were in McPherson at the same time as I was, and now they work for you. Several levels below you; I think they’re in Frankfurt, Germany now, but the idea is you’d love to see Kansans get – do some work overseas as well.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Nick, I have met Kansans. I met a young lady from Newton just last week. I met someone from Dodge City the week before that. Sounds like we’ve got some great folks from McPherson working as American diplomats as well. It is a wonderful blessing to get a chance to represent America all around the world. I don’t just want folks working here who come from Washington or Boston or New York. Anyone from the heartland who wants to have an exciting life, an important life, one where you can make a real difference for American national security ought to take a look at joining the State Department.
QUESTION: And they’ll have recruiters there in Overland Park today as part of the conference that’s ongoing. It’s 7:30 at WIBW. More of Newsday Now coming up.