April 18, 2023
Mike Pompeo, who served in the Trump Administration as director of the C.I.A. and then as secretary of state, said on Friday, April 14, that he would not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2024, reports The New York Times.
“While we care deeply about America, and the issues that I’ve been talking about this last year and half, and frankly for decades, matter an awful lot, this isn’t our moment,” Pompeo said, referring to himself and his wife, during an interview with Bret Baier on Fox News.
Pompeo, 59, had indicated his interest in running as he toured early primary states. He said he had not made his decision based on former President Donald Trump’s lead in early polls of the Republican race. He also declined to endorse Trump and obliquely criticized him, saying, “I think Americans are thirsting for people making arguments, not just tweets.”
“I want to find that person who can not only talk about the things that matter to every family in America, but who can actually build an organization, create a team, and deliver that for the American people,” he said, adding that this “might not be” Trump.
Before joining the Trump Administration, Pompeo represented Kansas in the House. Like other Republicans, Mr. Pompeo had been critical of Trump before his 2016 election—warning that he would be an “authoritarian” president. But, also like many Republicans, he changed his tune once Trump won the White House and became a staunch supporter of him.
Pompeo took a hawkish and combative approach to his job as director of the C.I.A., which he held for a little over a year, from 2017 to 2018. It earned him Trump’s admiration and a promotion to secretary of state, but he left that office disliked by foreign allies and even many American diplomats. He behaved much the same way after stepping down, forcefully criticizing President Biden’s foreign policy in a way not typical of former secretaries of state.
His aggressive foreign policy positions left him with an increasingly narrow lane for a presidential bid in a Republican Party whose base has shifted away from hawkish views in recent years.
He was also accused of ethics violations, including misusing diplomatic resources for personal purposes. In 2021, the State Department’s inspector general found that Pompeo and his wife had asked department staff to book hair appointments and take care of their dog, among other personal tasks. A year earlier, Trump had fired the leader of the inspector general’s office at Pompeo’s urging, a move Mr. Pompeo defiantly defended.
In his announcement on Friday, Mr. Pompeo left the door open for a future presidential campaign.
“To those of you this announcement disappoints, my apologies,” he said in a statement. “And to those of you this thrills, know that I’m 59 years old. There remain many more opportunities for which the timing might be more fitting.”
Research contact: @nytimes