United States – MR HARDEN: Well, Bonnie, I always said it’d be a cold day when the United States Secretary of State would call us and want to be on Van and Bonnie in the Morning.
MS LUCAS: And it’s cold.
MR HARDEN: You got it. It’s minus one.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning. It is chilly.
MR HARDEN: And Van and Bonnie in the Morning on the air until 9 o’clock this morning, and joining us this morning is United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Hi, Mr. Secretary.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning. It’s great to be with you.
MR HARDEN: Well, thank you.
MS LUCAS: Welcome to Iowa on such a nice, chilly day. Wind chill is – it’s 23 below zero right now.
SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s a wonderful day out. I’m from Kansas. I know how this weather goes. (Laughter.)
MR HARDEN: Well, you’ve been spending a little time in China.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes. China, Asia, a little bit of time in Europe. I’ll be off to the Middle East before too long. But I’m really looking forward to my day here in Iowa.
MR HARDEN: Well, that’s good. Can you kind of nutshell what you’re going to be doing?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I can. I came out here for really three purposes. First, America’s first client is the people of the United States of America, and I wanted to talk about how as Secretary of State I work to help them make their lives better, give them real opportunity. Second, I do want to talk about agriculture, making sure that Iowa farmers and frankly Kansas farmers too have a chance to compete on a fair, level playing field. And then finally, I want a truly diverse workforce at the State Department, and I would l love to get some talented young people from Iowa an opportunity to serve as diplomats on behalf of the United States of America. It’s a very noble calling representing the greatest nation in the history of civilization, and I want to see if I can’t open up their eyes to that opportunity.
MR HARDEN: Wow. You know that second part we’ve had a lot of uncertainty with a lot of the China stuff, and I know that you know when Ambassador Branstad was governor here we used to get to talk to him all the time, but we haven’t really heard – I’m sure he’s been playing a big part of all of this you’re working on.
SECRETARY POMPEO: He has. In fact, he’s back with me today. He’s going to be traveling around with me. In some sense this was his idea to come here and talk about this very uncertainty that you described. I think we all know that for an awful long time the American agriculture community was prohibited from selling their products in China. It just wasn’t fair, tariffs and nontariff barriers that presented – prevented Iowans from competing fairly, whether it was selling soybeans or corn or pork or whatever it may be. President Trump is determined to open those markets. There’s a massive market in Asia. And I know it’s difficult sometimes, but in the long run, for the next generation of farmers and the generation after that, this is something that’s important to take on, and President Trump has been prepared to do it.
MR HARDEN: How hard is it to talk to the Chinese about this? I mean, are they receptive or is it polite? What’s it like?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So they’re often – in fact almost always – very polite. But they’re trying to protect their own farmers, their own markets. Moreover, they haven’t done it fairly. They have stolen American intellectual property, and goodness, every Iowa farmer knows these are high-tech businesses, whether it’s the seeds or the farm implements. These are things that require real investment, real dollars. And when the Chinese steal those secrets, that’s not right, it’s not fair, and so we have that conversation with them. We have to fix it. They can’t keep stealing from Iowa farmers. It’s not fair, and President Trump is going to try and make it right.
MS LUCAS: So realistically, do you see any kind of a trade agreement coming in the near future?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I think so. We’ve made real progress. I’ve been in a lot of negotiations these last ten months as Secretary of State. They are hard-fought, and there’s no certainty that they’ll come to fruition. But I’ve seen the progress that’s been made, and I’m very hopeful that in the weeks ahead there’ll be a really good outcome for America and for Iowa.
MS LUCAS: I don’t know how much time you have to watch TV, Secretary —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Not so much.
MS LUCAS: — but I watch this program on Sunday night called Madam Secretary, and I find it very interesting. I just wondered if your job was anything like what we see on TV, that they just go from one crisis to another all the time.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, I haven’t seen too much of the show, to be honest with you. But it is the case America is a force for good all around the world. There are many challenges. So a difficult day for me will have me dealing with issues that range from Africa to Asia to Europe. It’s a wonderful job. I am incredibly blessed to have the privilege to serve as the Secretary of State doing my best to make sure that Iowans are well represented all around the world.
MS LUCAS: Is it what you thought it would be – the job?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m not sure what I had in my mind when President Trump asked me. I was the CIA director before that and so had come from this – the world of national security, so I had a sense for what it would be like. But it is always the case when you get in a job like this it’s hard work, but I’m enjoying every minute of it.
MR HARDEN: One thing that really impressed me is you hit the ground running. In fact, it seemed like you were either gone on a trip or getting ready to go on a trip before they even confirmed you. Am I right?
SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s true. I went to Europe before I went to my office in Washington, D.C.
MR HARDEN: Gee.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Was sworn in downtown and then went straight to the airport and hopped on a plane. There were a couple meetings that I needed to be at, and the Senate held my confirmation up for a few hours longer than I had hoped and – but was able to make the meetings, and so very much wanted to be there.
MR HARDEN: Now tell us again about – you were talking about young people having an opportunity to do something. Tell us about that.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So this morning I’m going to get a chance to be with a bunch of folks from the FFA, the Future Farmers of America. I want to talk to them about how, if we don’t get this right, if we don’t get fair trade, if we don’t ensure that Iowa farmers can market their products on a fair, level playing field, and if people are stealing their stuff, that we run a real risk that the next generation, whether that’s farming or manufacturing or whatever it may be – we’ve got to get that right and we’ve got to get it right quickly. It’s not easy to do. Too many presidents before just kind of let it go. It’s not partisan. That was presidents of both political parties. We really need to get this right. It’s been unfair for too long, and President Trump is determined to fix that.
MR HARDEN: You sound like maybe there might be some good news to come on this whole thing.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m hoping so. We are certainly working very, very hard at it.
MR HARDEN: Well, we appreciate the fact that you would take your time to call Van and Bonnie here this morning. It’s fun to talk to you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, it’s great to be with you. It’s great to be back. When I flew in last night it felt like home. My wife was born in Iowa City and spent a lot of time in Coralville, so I love the people of the heartland. It’s going to be a fun day.
MR HARDEN: This is going to sound very pretentious, but both of these guys know us. Would you say hi to President Trump and to Terry Branstad for us, for Van and Bonnie?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I will see Terry in just a few minutes. I’ll do it. And I’ll talk to the President probably end of the day, tomorrow morning, and pass that along as well for you.
MR HARDEN: Great.
MS LUCAS: All right. Thank you so much.
MR HARDEN: Well, have a great day in Iowa, sir.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you all very much. You all have a good morning.
SOURCE: news provided by STATE.GOV on March 4, 2019.