QUESTION: Yeah. You may remember he’s from Kansas, served as a congressman from the Wichita area. Well, Secretary Pompeo joins us now from the InterContinental Hotel in Kansas City. Good morning. Tell us about the conference —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Good to be with you.
QUESTION: Tell us about the conference you’re here for and what you’re going to be doing here in Kansas City.
SECRETARY POMPEO: This is a State Department effort to engage entrepreneurs here in the United States and I wanted to come to the heartland and spread this message. Our mission set is to grow the American economy by helping folks from this area and, frankly, all around the United States develop their capability to sell their products all around the world. We’ll have leadership from the Netherlands here in town today. We’ll do this again there in a few months. The idea is that the State Department is here to help. You’re an innovator, you’re a creator, you’re starting your own business and you want to attack markets all around the world, State Department’s here to help you.
QUESTION: Yeah. You’re encouraging entrepreneurs and investors in the Midwest to think beyond the Midwest. Why is it important that they do that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Big markets, and it’s deeply connected to my mission as America’s Secretary of State as well. We have the mission of keeping America safe and there’s nothing that benefits American security like a robust, growing American economy. It provides important infrastructure for all we do in the national security space. So I want to help folks. If you have a market you want to address, whether that’s in Southeast Asia or in the Middle East or in Europe, the State Department has tools and resources available to assist you in achieving your business objective.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you started your own company. You’re an entrepreneur yourself, aren’t you, back in the day?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I am. So we sold products all around the world as well.
QUESTION: So all of this is leading up to a global conference in the Netherlands. What do you hope entrepreneurs here in Kansas City get out of going to that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We hope they’ll come join. There’ll be thousands of European investors, entrepreneurs, creators, innovators in all sectors – goods, retail services – across a broad spectrum. It’ll be a chance for them to network, to connect, develop relationships, all the things you truly need to sell your product around the world and to, frankly, get investment to come in from these other countries as well. Foreign direct investment here in Kansas and Missouri is really important to the growth of our businesses and I hope I can connect some people up and that our team can do a good job of building America’s economy.
QUESTION: All right. We want to change gears just a little bit because in the news cycle this weekend – we know you ruled out a run for office here in the state of Kansas for this go-around, but you said never say never.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, I think that’s right. I’ve learned in life one needs to work hard, keep your head down, do your job as well as you can and then the next thing will come to you.
QUESTION: Well, Mr. Secretary, you are here in the barbecue capital of the world here. We are wondering what your selection might be this afternoon for lunch. What’s it going to be?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So last night we had Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. Don’t know what’s for lunch today.
QUESTION: Don’t know what’s for lunch, all right. Well, we won’t ask you what your favorite is, all right, because that can be a divisive question, all right? (Laughter.) But we’ll just leave it at that.
Mr. Secretary, it is great to see you. Welcome back to the Midwest here and I hope you have a good time there at the conference. Thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you.
QUESTION: Appreciate it.
SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s great to be back home. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: You’re welcome.