BREAKING: Pompeo tapped as new Secretary of State. Fantastic choice. No one gets Putin threat better than he does. Experienced. Clear-eyed. Tough. Pro-Israel. And he has the ear & confidence of President Trump. Tillerson never did.


(Dallas, Texas) — Major breaking news this morning: CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been tapped as the new Secretary of State, replacing Rex Tillerson.

Pompeo is a fantastic choice — I absolutely could not be more pleased, especially because Pompeo is so clear-eyed and tough on Russia. He gets the grave and growing threat posed by Vladimir Putin, and he’s serious about the need to dramatically and urgently strengthen the U.S.-NATO alliance.

Indeed, at a time when President Trump has been nearly radio silent on the Putin threat, Pompeo is the perfect choice to run the State Department. He could help the President develop a comprehensive new policy to counter rising Russian aggression. He could help the President craft a major speech to the nation to explain the Putin threat and how we’re going to deal with Putin after he wins re-election next Sunday.

Pompeo will be a key player in crafting the strategy to deal with Iran, North Korea and China, among the most serious foreign policy challenges we face. He also is extremely knowledgeable on the Arab-Israel conflict and can play an increasingly important role in a range of U.S. policies in the Mideast, including the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. 

Here’s quick glance at his strengths and experience:

  • Pompeo understands the intersection between intelligence, national security and global diplomacy as well or better than anyone who has served as Secretary of State going back to George Schultz and James Baker in the Reagan administration.
  • Graduated first in his class at West Point.
  • Served as an officer in the U.S. Army.
  • Earned a JD from Harvard.
  • Served as a Member of Congress, and thus knows how to operate on Capitol Hill.
  • Served on the House Intelligence Committee (where we got to know each other).
  • Strongly pro-Israel.
  • Solid relationships with our Sunni Arab allies, understands their enormous value to U.S. national security, and sees the historic convergence between American, Israeli and Sunni Arab interests.
  • Serious about wanting to see peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
  • Strongly opposed to the regime in Tehran, and opposed to President Obama’s disastrous Iran nuclear deal, and determined to undo the damage the deal has caused — in sharp contrast with Tillerson who did not see the deal as a major problem.
  • Excellent on North Korea and China.
  • And no one is more clear eyed about the Putin threat than Mike Pompeo — he truly understands the threat posed by Vladimir Putin in a way I was never convinced Tillerson did, and I’m personally relieved that President Trump has chosen someone so strong on Russia.
  • Most importantly, Pompeo truly has the ear and the confidence of President Trump in a way that Tillerson never had. As CIA Director, Pompeo has been briefing the President almost every day since he took office. They talk about the most sensitive issues on the global stage. Pompeo knows his stuff, and knows how to communicate with the President. They like each other. They know how to work well together. He is, therefore, excellently suited to serve as Secretary of State — this is a position, after all, that requires truly knowing the President’s mind, and being perceived as being close to him, so as to be able to communicate effectively with leaders all over the world.
  • Pompeo is also a fan of my political thrillers — what’s not to love?

Please pray for Mike and his wife, Susan, and family. This is a huge promotion but also a very tough job at a very dangerous moment on the world stage.

UPDATE: some of my previous comments on Tillerson (see here, here, and here):

  • Tillerson seems like an honorable man & had enormous business experience as CEO of . But his skills have not transferred effectively to DC. He’s not proving an effective diplomat. He’s terribly slow to appoint key staff & ambassadors. Morale is low. A change is needed.

  • Tillerson has no experience in government or global diplomacy, to be the Secretary of State, and has not replaced Tillerson despite continuing controversy and strains in the relationship. The President has publicly contradicted his Secretary of State numerous times (see also here), and privately weighed replacing him. I’m sure that Mr. Tillerson is a fine and honorable man and he has an impressive record in the private sector. However, the American people need world-class diplomat and one that the President has full confidence in, and one that world leaders know has the President’s full confidence and ear. In such a tumultuous global environment, it was a mistake for the President to appoint him, and a mistake not to make a change immediately.

To understand more about Pompeo — who he is and what he believes — here’s a range of articles worth reading, please a conversation Pompeo had with folks at the American Enterprise Institute last year.



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